Child,Jim Steyer,Mass surveillance,Adolescence

How do you get your kids off their phones? First, look in the mirror

December 9, 2016
in Kids

Screen time Want to get your kids off their phones and back into the real world? A new study suggests that before you launch into the lecture about how you only see the tops of their heads these days, you may want to take stock of what your own technology habits are telling your kids. Parents are spending an average of 9 hours and 22 minutes with screen media per day, the study found -- and only an hour and a half of that is for work. That means parents use their devices overall as much as their teens and tween. In fact the average parent spends about a half-hour more each day in the glow of screens than the average teen, excluding school or time spent with homework. Common Sense Media, a non-profit devoted to studying the effects of media on children, asked 1,700 parents about their media habits, their children's habits and how they view and manage technology as a family. The study focused on parents of kids between the ages of 8 and 18. Jim Steyer, Common Sense Media's executive director, said he was shocked by the parents' screen time. "I thought it would be four or five hours -- it was more than twice that," he said. Television was, by far, the most common type of media parents named in the study, followed by video games and social networking. Against that backdrop, some of the other responses from parents seem a little contradictory. For example, 43 percent of parents say they're concerned their kids spend too much time online, but 78 percent thought they themselves were good role models. For Steyer, that doesn't quite line up. "Parents are the most important teachers and role models that children have," said Jim Steyer, executive director of Common Sense. "This is a classic 'Do as I say, not as I do.'" Using a lot of technology doesn't seem to make parents any less wary of the Internet. For example, the study...

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