Hands up parents, who has sat down in a café with some friends, toddler in tow, and given your little one an iPad, iPhone or another smart device to help keep them happy and quiet? I bet most parents reading this will have their hand in the air, and why not? It usually works!
Now, keep your hand up if you’ve actually bought your young child their own phone or tablet. A recent survey from Legal & General has revealed that a surprising percentage of parents should still have their hand in the air.L&G discovered that 32% of children own their own phone before they’re 9, whilst 65% own their own tablet. A staggering 75% of London parents feel pressured to buy their children their own smart device, a considerably leap from the rest of the UK (58%)
Younger parents are seemingly the most relaxed about allowing their kids to use devices, with the study finding that 49% of parents under 35 let their children use a tablet before they’re 4 years old.
17% of parents admit that they use a device every day to keep their kids calm in social situations, with this number dramatically rising to 42% of London parents.The study also found that 48% of parents think their children are too reliant on computers and devices, with 29% believing that usage has a negative impact on their obedience. 24% believe it negatively impacts their communication, whilst 26% believe it has an impact on their aggression.
To combat these concerns, L&G have also come up with ways to help limit our kids screen time if we feel it’s having negative effects, which includes incorporating screen-free time during daily routines and making use of parental controls.
Using devices to help control our kids’ behaviour and worrying about the impact it is having seems to be a fine line, one that parents will undoubtedly continue to balance as technology becomes an ever-increasing part of daily life.