Tech-addicted parents to kids: Don’t do as I do

December 18, 2016
in Kids

They limit their kids’ screen time, set filters on their browsers and banish digital devices from the dinner table. Then those same parents pick up their own iPhones to check email, scan Twitter and update their Facebook statuses. Even as they fret that their kids may become device zombies, parents are setting a lousy example — and they know it. “I’d give myself a B-minus or C-plus — and that’s up from a solid F at one point,” said Jason Miller of San Jose, about following the personal-device rules he sets for his children. “The kids have called me out on it, for which I was grateful.” Miller, a content manager for the news and social media aggregator Flipboard, limits his daughters’ iPad time to 30 minutes a day, not including music. And yet, he realizes that the rules for his 12- and 10-year-old kids are hypocritical. He’s not alone. A survey by San Francisco-based Common Sense Media of 1,800 parents, conducted in July and released this month[December], found that parents of teens and ‘tweens spent more than 9 hours a day on screen media, including 7 hours 43 minutes for personal use. That’s nearly every waking minute outside a normal work day — although multitasking like checking Instagram while watching TV racked up double minutes. Dacia Mitchell of Oakland allows her 7-year-old an hour, broken into two sessions, on her iPad. In return, the Mitchells gave her policing power over Mommy and Daddy using their cell phones during family time. “A 7-year-old will point out every single time you’re breaking the rules,” Mitchell said. “You suddenly become hyper-aware of your usage.” Parents ruefully note that handheld computers, replete with maps, games, messages, photos, factoids and magic-like connections, have become an indispensable extension of our brains and beings. The survey found that most parents of kids 8 to 18 are concerned about their kids’ social media use, potential addiction to technology...

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