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Parents competing with gadgets for kids’ attention

More than a third of parents have admitted they are competing with gadgets when it comes to getting their child’s attention.

According to a new survey, 37% of parents said they have to “fight for their attention” and struggle to detach children from watching videos, playing games and using social media.

Another third (36%) of parents questioned also believe their child is not spending enough time playing outside, and 22% believe that excessive screen use is holding them back from making real-life friends.

The survey of 2,000 UK parents of four to 16-year-olds highlights growing fears about the amount of time children spend in front of screens. Two thirds (67%) said they are worried their child is spending too much time online.

Commenting on this subject, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, ambassador for non-profit organisation Internet Matters, said: “Parents can often find themselves in a dilemma when it comes to their kids and their devices.

“They know there is a whole amazing world online that can be beneficial to their kids, but they also see how apps, games and platforms pull them in and keep their attention.”

Dr Papadopoulos argues that it’s about finding the right balance. She explained that talking to children about what constitutes healthy and unhealthy screen time is important, and urged parents to explain to children that its not just about how long they go online, but also what they go online for.

She went on to explain that this doesn’t mean children should not play online games or watch their favourite YouTubers. Simply that parents need to help their children spend less time mindlessly scrolling and more time seeking out information.

Parents with children aged between 14 and 16 years expressed particular concern about how screen time is impacting their child’s sleep, school work, family time and mental wellbeing. However, more than one of five of those parents said they did not restrict their child’s use of gadgets.

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