These days it is not uncommon to see a family household full of smart devices, including televisions, smartphones, and tablets. However, parents may need to take their eyes off their pads and focus in on what is going on around them, suggests NY Daily News.
Parents of teenagers are just as bad with their screen time as their children, according to a report funded by the Common Sense Media group.
Parents Need to Focus on their Habits to Improve Teens’ Habits
Most parents are aware and critical of how much time their teens spend on their smartphones and tablets, but now the new survey says that parents spend just as much time each day as their kids and three hours more each day than them, reports CNN.
The survey helps parents, children, and educators negotiate on media and technology. They studied parents and teenagers and found that each spend an average of nine hours per day on their screens. That was more than 80 percent for pleasure too; not work-related browsing.
Last year, another survey between eight and 18-year-old found that teens spend a similar amount of time on their screens, which is an average of nine hours per day. Tweens, which are children ages eight to 12, spend an average of six hours per day on media sites.
Most parents in the survey thought they were exhibiting positive behavior for their children; therefore, they were surprised to find that they spend just as much time (if not more) than their kids on screens.
To get an idea of how these impacted parents, and how families could better create screen-time habits, a child psychologist weighed in for the LA Times on the matter.
She recommends that the entire family discuss their screen time usage, and let children be part of making the screen time rules. This can be done via a family media agreement. The agreement ensures everyone monitors their use, and everyone knows when it is appropriate to use screens.
When kids are allowed to have a say in screen time usage, they are more likely to follow the rules set in the agreement too.
Also, parents should tell kids what they are doing when they are using the screen. That way children understand the appropriate usage of a screen, versus when time is wasted.
Not all Screen Time is a Bad Thing
While the study may have reflected poorly on parents and teens, it is important that parents understand not all screen time is bad. In fact, there is a difference between interactive time looking at a screen versus passive time. When a child uses the screen for educational purposes, then it is not a bad thing to spend time on that screen. Also, parents may use screen time to bond, which is acceptable.
There should be screen-free zones, such as during meals and devices should be put away at least one hour before bed to promote healthier sleep.