Kids spend more time on smartphones and tablets than playing outdoors

On average, children spend more than two hours per day on a smartphone or tablet. — AFP Relaxnews

While children have never spent so much time with their eyes glued to smartphones or tablets, a study published by cybersecurity specialists Norton by Symantec reports that 61% of parents consider that they themselves set a bad example. In fact, 29% of the parents surveyed admit being reprimanded on the subject by their own children.

On average, European children spend around two-and-a-half hours per day of their free time on mobile devices – over half an hour more than the average time spent playing outdoors. The British lead the way, with almost three hours per day spent on mobile devices.

Parents don't seem overly concerned about all this screen time, considering, for example, that these new technologies can contribute to improving their children's aptitudes in terms of well-being (42%), problem-solving and learning (44%), and creativity (45%). Three-quarters of the parents surveyed (74%) consider that owning their own device could help teach children a sense of responsibility.

However, parents are by no means oblivious to the potentially negative impacts of excessive mobile device use. They worry, for instance, about the effects of smartphones and tablets on the sleep quality (58%), social relationships (44%), energy levels (42%) and mental health (33%) of their children.

Half the parents surveyed (49%) would like to impose limits and parental controls on their children's connected devices, even if they don't necessarily know how to do so. More than half (55%) of parents allow their children to surf the Internet alone in their bedroom, whatever their age, and 10% put no limits on their children's smartphone or tablet use.

The Norton My First Device Research Report is based on an online survey carried out by researchers Edelman Intelligence, covering 6,986 adult parents of children aged five to 16 in 10 countries in Europe and the Middle East (Germany, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, United KIngdom and Sweden) between Aug 10 and 20 this year. – AFP Relaxnews
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