Study: Parents spend as much time on their phones as with their kids

Study: Parents spend as much time on their phones as with their kids

TL;DR - parents spend a lot of time on their phones but agree that less technology would be better for family time.

A recent survey revealed that parents’ screen time on their phones is almost as much as their children’s screen time.

Over 2,000 parents responded to the New York Post’s questionnaire looking at phone usage and attitudes around screen time behaviour.

The average time spent browsing on smartphones was two hours and 17 minutes. On the other hand, screen-free time with kids was reported to be two hours and 41 minutes on average.

screen time parents

Image source: iStock

69 per cent of parents said they felt “addicted” to their smart devices.

This shows as half of the respondents said their children actually the parents to put phones down to play!

Surprisingly, 74 per cent of parents said they worried their children spent too long looking at a screen. But 83 per cent agreed that technology was important in raising children today.

Parents said they use smart devices to help with parenting as per the following:

  • Keep kids occupied (58 per cent)
  • As a reward (53 per cent)
  • Calm children down when upset (52 per cent)

However, 83 per cent of mums and dads said it’s important to have family time without any screens. Furthermore, 79 per cent said their relationship with their kids would be better with less technology.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the rules the respondents set for screen time usage for their kids.

Screen time rules for children

  • Limited screen time: 65 per cent
  • Have full access to the child’s phone: 57 per cent
  • Only educational shows/videos allowed: 55 per cent
  • No screen time during dinner time: 53 per cent
  • No screen time before bedtime: 44 per cent

Parents’ priorities when it comes to raising their children

  • Providing children with a good education: 59 per cent
  • Prioritising children’s physical health: 53 per cent
  • Set up an environment for a happy childhood: 44 per cent
  • Teaching healthy social skills: 43 per cent
  • Teaching pragmatic skills for future careers: 38 per cent

How to use technology effectively for parenting

screen time parents

Image source: Pexels

It’s becoming increasingly evident that mums and dads spend a lot of time on their phones. While downtime is important to keep you sane, too much phone use is detrimental for parents and kids alike!

The WHO recommends children under five-years-old limit screen time to an hour daily, while children under two-years-old have screen time at all. Excessive usage can lead to developmental language delays.

It’s been suggested “technoference“, spending too much time on your phone, can damage your relationship with your children. So parents, beware as adults can easily fall foul of the same issues with digital devices!

Try these simple tips to limit your family’s screen time usage to healthy levels.

Connect Screen Time to Physical and Creative Activity

screen time parents

Image source: Shutterstock

Instead of separating learning and playtime as mutually exclusive activities, combine technology with physical games.

If you’re watching a cartoon about sports, get the family to jump ten times every time the main character scores a goal or accomplishes something. Or you could dance together whenever a certain song or jingle pops up.

It’ll take some creativity to get the most out of this, but your endeavour will be worth it!

Remember to choose enriching and educational content!

Set specific times to use screens

screen time parents

Image source: Pexels

Kids love routines. Incorporating screen time usage as part of a schedule helps to limit how much your children watch shows on a phone or the TV.

Get an egg timer or use the inbuilt timer on the phone. Establish guidelines together so your kids feel it’s a collaborative process; they’ll feel readier to relinquish control of the devices when it’s something everyone agreed to.

Use Alternatives for Quiet Time

screen time parents

Image source: Pexels

It’s a common sight for everyone to have their eyes glued to the phone when there’s downtime nowadays.

If there’s space and time to relax, swap the devices and go old-school by reading books, playing with toys, or doing puzzles instead.


It’s not uncommon for parents to feel addicted to their smartphones. Take proactive measures to limit screentime for your kids and yourself! Family time will prosper because of it!

Republished with permission from theAsianparent Singapore

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