Using your phone at the dinner table. Texting while behind the wheel. Over-sharing on social media. It’s not just the under-30 set who are guilty of such smartphone faux pas.
A new study delves into the dynamics of technology and families, and it turns out kids aren’t too impressed with some of their parents’ habits.
Researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Washington conducted a survey with 249 U.S. child-parent pairs, exploring rules both for children (aged 10-17) and parents along with enforcement challenges.
The children’s answers (92 per cent) largely fell into seven categories:
- Be present: Put down the phone and pay attention when your child is speaking
- No over-sharing: Don’t post anything online about your children without asking them first
- Child autonomy: Have trust in your children to set their own boundaries
- Moderate use: Don’t spend all your time on the computer, tablet or smartphone
- Supervision: Establish technology-related rules for children and do your research on new fads
- Not while driving: Put the phone down, even when stopped at red lights
- Don’t be a hypocrite: Practice what you preach and follow your own rules
The study’s authors note that there have been similar hurdles in the past, as families grew accustomed to new technologies such as radio, television and video games in the household.
However, the rapid evolution of tech in past decades, along with the advent of the Internet, requires a whole set of new rules.
“As technology has become pervasive in children’s lives, establishing and enforcing rules has become increasingly challenging for parents,” the study states.
“This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that parents themselves may be struggling to set and abide by the rules they set for themselves for technology use.”
Researchers noted the principal concern, among both children and parents, was paying attention to those around you instead of technology.
You can read the entire study, Not at the Dinner Table: Parents’ and Children’s Perspectives on Family Technology Rules here.