Parents Trump Children On Amount Of Time Used On Cell Phones

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Parents use their electronic devices almost twice as much as their children, according to a report released by Common Sense Media Tuesday.

The majority of parents report spending a fair amount of time reprimanding their children for incessantly using electronics. Some 56 percent of parents think their children are addicted to media and 34 percent fear their child’s media use negatively impacts their children’s sleep.

Recent findings, however, show that parents concerns may be misplaced, as they are the ones guilty of excessive use of media. Parents spend more than nine hours a day with screen media, with over 80 percent of that time spent on personal, not work, screen media. Comparing these findings to the media use of children brings out some hilarious contrasts.

Tweens use media nearly half the amount of time per day as their parents, logging just over 4.5 hours of screen media interaction daily. Teenagers, who average 6.5 hours of screen media a day, are still logging two hours shy of  their parents. Despite averaging substantially more time engaging with screen media daily, some 78 percent of parents believe they are good media role models for their children.

If parents are concerned “about too much media in their kids’ lives, it might be time to reassess their own behavior so that they can truly set the example they want for their kids,” James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense, said in a press release.

Another interesting finding of this study is that minority group parents are substantially more aware of what their children see or hear when using media. Almost two-thirds of Hispanic and African-American parents report being highly aware of what their children are watching and listening to, compared with just 51 percent of white parents.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) says the impact of media on children is profound. Media can have a formative influence on a child’s behavioral development and perceptions of drug use and other cultural phenomenon. NCBI lists a series of recommendations for physicians and families to consider when evaluating a child’s media habits.

The center suggests that parents have established ground rules viewing, and efforts to establish healthy viewing habits should be established by the child’s second year of life. Families should limit the use of media, and ensure that any surrogate caregivers, like a nanny, are well versed in the rules of the household.

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Robert Donachie