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Kids vs mobile phones - who gets more attention?

25 Jun 15

Kiwi kids are fighting it out with mobile phones for attention from their parents, new research shows. 

A new study from security firm AVG Technologies shows a third of New Zealand children (32%) say their parents spent equal or less time with them than they were spending on their mobile devices. 

The study looked into the perceptions and habits of over 6000 people, including 340 New Zealand adults and 304 children, and examined children’s perceptions of their parents’ mobile device use, with the firm saying the study uncovered some ‘worrying’ trends. 

The research reveals that over 50% of the children surveyed felt their parents checked their devices too often. This trend points to an ongoing digital intrusion upon family life, AVG Technologies says. 

The company says children’s biggest grievance, when given a list of possible bad device habits, was that their parents allowed themselves to be distracted by their device during conversations (40%), something that made more than a third of the complainants feel unimportant (37%).

When asked about their device use, half of all parents agreed that it was too frequent (53%), and many also worried about how this looked to the younger generation. 

A quarter (26%) of all parents felt that they didn’t set a good example for their children with their device use.

“With our kids picking up mobile devices at an increasingly younger age, it is really important that we set good habits within the home early on,” explains Michael McKinnon, security awareness director at AVG Technologies. 

“Children take their cues from us for everything else, so it is only natural that they should do the same with device use,” he says. 

“It can be hard to step away from your device at home, but with a third of parents telling us that they wished their child used their device less (32%), they need to lead by example and consider how their behaviour might be making their child feel.”

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