Are parents more addicted to smartphones than their children?

It's not grown-ups who can't stand smartphones at the dinner table...

Kids are often accused of being glued to their smartphones, but it's parents who are the real culprits, according to new research.

Parents' use of smartphones is disrupting families' home life, a survey of 2,000 secondary school pupils aged 11 to 18 has found, with one-third of respondents having had to ask parents to put down their phones and spend time with them. More than a fifth of the pupils also felt that the use of mobile devices prevented their families from enjoying spending time together.

The study, conducted by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC), also found that more than one-third of pupils have had to tell their parents to put down their phones, rather than the other way around. Furthermore, when they asked them to ditch their devices, almost half of kids said that their parents simply paid no attention.

In stark contrast, less than 10% of the 3,000 parents who were also polled as part of the survey felt their children were concerned by their phone usage, and less than 5% of grown-ups admitted to using a device at mealtimes - but 14% of kids said their parents were online during family meals.

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Work issues is one of the biggest distractions, according to one anonymous parent quoted in the survey. "Because digital technology dominates my work life I really make a conscious effort to disconnect from it during my family and leisure time," they commented. "The iPad makes it very easy to dip into work and this needs to be resisted if possible; however, I am not always successful."

"These results are shocking," said Digital Awareness UK co-founder Emma Robertson. "We hope these findings will be a wake-up call for families and motivate them to have serious conversations about the safe and healthy use of technology."

"We are encouraged by the attention some schools are now giving to this serious issue and the attempts to bring teachers, pupils and parents together to find consistent solutions."

Picture: Bigstock

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