I’ve written in the past that I’m definitely on the ‘for’ side when it comes to kids using electronic devices, and Sausage has a few which she uses regularly, including a Chromebook and a Nexus 7 tablet. She has a mixture of fun apps and sites that she uses, as well as some more education-driven content like the Babbel language app which she uses to learn rudimentary French. However, her time on these devices is pretty closely monitored, not least of all because looking down to use them has, on occasion, given her a headache.
That’s why, when Lenstore got in touch to ask me to take a look at the results of a survey they’d conducted and share it with my readers, I was pretty shocked by some of the findings. In the age bracket which Sausage falls into, 5-7 years, parents reported that their kids were using ‘digital devices’ for an average of 8.02 hours PER DAY, and of those hours the kids were predominantly using their devices for gaming. According to the survey, the main concerns expressed by parents were behavioural problems (31%), attention deficit (29%) addiction (24%) and eye strain (24%).
To be honest, my main concern is that some parents are letting their kids use a tablet or gaming system for EIGHT HOURS A DAY! No wonder these kids are getting eye strain! And, do bear in mind, 8 hours is an estimated average, which means that some parents must’ve reported times which were significantly higher, too.
The one part of the survey which did make me a little sad is that kids are also more likely to confidently use a mobile phone before being able to read or ride a bike. Parents these days are busier than ever, with many families being forced to have two full-time workers in order to afford to simply live, which means that it’s a lot easier for parents to let screens do their baby sitting, rather than having time to get the kids outside or teaching them how to ride a bike.
One thing which worries me is that less than half of parents surveyed with children aged 5-7 (41%) and 8-10 (49%) said they check their child’s online activity or even monitor their use of digital devices (5-7 year olds – 47% and 8-10 year olds – 48%). Husband and I are aware at all times of what Sausage is playing or browsing and we monitor closely which apps she installs, not just because of the potential for bankruptcy with the horrible ‘in-game extras’ which many apps advertise, but also because of the suitability of many apps. Kids are so computer savvy, which is mostly a good thing, but its all too possible to be too trusting of app developers when it comes to allowing kids to install things autonomously.
As long as Husband and I continue the way we are and monitor Sausage closely, I’m confident that we’ll manage to keep her safe and healthy, but I’m afraid to say that I can’t be so certain for other families.
Do you kids use digital devices? Do you monitor their screen time? Do you have concerns? Leave me a comment below.