The survey conducted by mobile phone trade-in price comparison site, SellCell.com polled 1100 US parents (in August 2019) around their children's relationship with cell phones and their daily cell phone usage. The findings and methodology can be found in full by viewing this link: SellCell.com
Here are some of the key findings that you may find useful.
Are kids becoming cell phone addicts?
- 42% of kids are spending 30+ hours a week on their cell phones!
Are phones ‘Guilty Pleasure Time’ for parents?
- 4 in 10 parents allow their kids to use phones so they can ‘Enjoy Peace & Quiet’.
- 40% of parents admit to allowing their kids to use cell phones to give themselves a break
- 57% of kids mainly use their phones for gaming.
Do parents consider cell phone usage good for kids?
- Completing homework was the least popular activity on their phones (only 18%)
- Nearly 70% of parents think that the use of cellphones has a positive effect on their child’s development (68%)
How much do they spend?
- 25% of parents admit to spending up to $250 on their child’s phone
- Over 4% of parents spent $850+ on a phone for their child!
Is this a nation of toddler techies?
- 12% of children first use a phone between the ages of 1-2!
- 4 in 10 US kids are 6 or under when they first use a cellphone (40%)
- 65% of pre-teen kids, under the age of 13 own their own phone
Parents are secret cell snoopers.
- Nearly 9 out of 10 parents know their child’s phone passcode (88%).
The research clearly shows that parents are very comfortable allowing their child vast access to a mobile phone and believe that the overriding factor in this decision is the educational benefits associated with cell phone usage.
Tips for Parents to Control Screen Time
On the back of this research we can draw some very simple observations and tips.
1. CLEAR, CONSISTENT RULES/ ADVICE NEEDED FOR PARENTS & KIDS The research clearly demonstrates that children are given access to cell phones from a very early age because parents feel that it is beneficial for their kids. In order for parents to make changes or reduce screen time, they need to clearly understand what is an acceptable level of usage for their children. Parents are setting their own parameters on the information or lack of it that they have. Parents need to research best practice guidelines for screen time usage and develop firmer and clearer guidelines for their kids. Parents need a bit of help with this from the government or online resources to help determine how much time on screens is acceptable.
2. SCHOOLS NEED TO SUPPORT Parents and schools need to work together to set out guidelines for the use of electronics in and out of school. The research indicates that parents enable their kids to use a cell phone as they feel that they aid their kids' development. A great deal of homework is given by schools to be used on mobile devices. As such schools need to be setting guidelines for after school educational screen time parameters.
3. USE SCREEN TIME RESTRICTIONS IN THE PHONES SETTINGS When parents understand what an acceptable screen time limit is - they can use some of the neat features that have been developed by phone manufacturers to restrict the time that their kids can use the phone. Apple allows parents now to set screen time limits on devices. This is useful, set screen time, allowances, and limits on iPhone - https://support.apple.com › guide › iPhone › ios
4. CREATE SCREEN TIME ACTIVITY BUCKETS Parents need to create clear pockets of time in activities that are easily understandable for kids. Communicate how much time is allowed for homework, gaming and chatting with friends. If everything is blurred together children haven’t the mature management skills to work out how to differentiate activity into time pockets. This will help to control the time spent and make it productive. Logic needs to be applied by parents to activities conducted on phones.
5. PARENTS NEED TO BE CELL PHONE SNOOPERS The research illustrated that most patents do know the passcode to their kids' phones. This is a very important thing. Cognitively this enables parents to stay in charge of who owns the rules for cellphone screen time. Parents need to regularly check on kids' phones to demonstrate to their kids that the power of the cell phone lies with them and not the child.
6. WEEKLY DAY BANS Children often need a simple approach, as we all do. Rather than segment time in hours across the week, parents may find it easy to have one day a week off completely from the phone. Parents should ban children from using their phones fully for one day a week and plan activities around this. If kids are busy with the outdoor play they will develop the tools of not being with their device for a whole day rather than being dragged away for half a day after using it.
7. NO PHONES DURING FAMILY TIME There should be special times when cell phones are not built into activity and are actually purposely omitted. Dinner time, family walks with the dog, etc should be a NO ZONE for cell phones and parents have to lead by example with this - and digital detox themselves
At Learning Success we have been working hard to gather the best information on children and electronics from a variety of experts. We've created the Children and Electronics initiative. An initiative to educate parents with expertise froma variety of disciplines. Get all of it here.
With over 20 years of experience in marketing, research and as the co-founder of Europe's largest mobile phone repair service, Sarah can add valuable industry insight and commentary for reports, features and tech news stories. She is now the Commercial Lead for SellCell.com, the US's No 1 phone trade-in comparison site. She regularly supports the biggest US news titles with industry updates and commentary around tech trends, marketing news, money-saving & education
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