Consumer

Screen Time: Adults need to lead by example

June 24, 2015

Our latest Digital Diaries research, published today, examines kids’ and their parents’ views of each others’ smartphone usage.

I think it reveals some pretty interesting insights about the digital family. Among them, the nagging worry about our kids’ screen time and, likewise, their worry about their moms’ and dads’ obsession with mobile devices – and the impact it’s having on the quality of our parent/child interactions.

As AVG senior evangelist Tony Anscombe points out ,, it’s really important that we set good habits within the home.

Unfortunately, almost a third of parents in our survey conceded that they actually aren’t setting very good examples.

As a case in point, on Father’s Day, I sat in a fine-dining restaurant and watched the dynamics of some digital families play out during the holiday Sunday brunch.

Across the room from my table, a father and son sat. Dad was on his smartphone.  Junior, a grade schooler, was on his iPad…Not a word was being exchanged between the pair during the entire meal. They sat isolated from each other, with either of them barely looking away from their device, except to give and receive their food orders.

The sight of the non-communicating father and son saddened me. It not only illustrated a failure to lead by example, but one of the worst digital lifestyle habits – using mobile devices during a meal, and a time when we should be paying attention to each other. (The latter was also called out as a key issue in the Digital Diaries study).

Closer by, at the table directly next to me on Sunday, was another digital family –this one definitely more engaged with each other and animated. Mom, Dad and teen daughter were merrily talking. Their digital devices only came out when Mom and the teen daughter posed the family for a few selfies. After attempting to do it themselves –and keep the self in Selfie—several times and not getting the desired shot, the Mom handed the smartphone to the waiter and arranged the family for a better angle. Snap. Photo taken and immediately posted on social media.

We often hear stories about children having an unhealthy relationship with technology, but it’s important to remember that it’s our role as parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts to set a good example. It’s up to us to engage them beyond the screen and perhaps examine our own device usage.

The latest Digital Diaries research has spurred me on to spend more time in person with my family and to indulge in the occasional digital detox. I hope you do too.


June 24, 2015


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