The new harmful addiction for kids?

teenage sleepAustralian children are falling asleep on phones and use gadgets at the dinner table, Telstra study shows 29 January 2015
ALMOST two in every five Australian children fall asleep using a gadget, and one in five uses technology during meal times, according to research released today.

The Telstra study into family screen time also found most parents did not consider themselves to be good technological role models, and most children mirrored their bad screen habits.

The Cyber Safety: Balancing Screen Time study surveyed more than 1800 Australians, including 507 children aged between 12 and 17.

Telstra cyber safety manager Shelly Gorr said the survey indicated tech-savvy Australian households may have the balance of technology wrong, with parents leading the problem.

“We tended to see that if parents were spending more time on devices, their kids tended to do that too, be that second-screening, using a device as they fell asleep, or general device use during the day,” she said.

“If your personal set of values are that you want a device-free dinner table, in the past you would just turn off the television. Now that’s been replaced by devices.”

The study found 39 per cent of children fell asleep at night while using a device, in addition to 17 per cent of parents, while 74 per cent of children used devices between 9pm and midnight on school nights, along with 62 per cent of parents.

Children were also heavy technology users at meal times, with 19 per cent admitting to using a device, while most children (71 per cent) said they used a device while in front of an even bigger screen: the television.

Disturbingly, 65 per cent of parents said they were not good role models for their children when it came to technology, and nine per cent of children said their parents’ use of technology took away from family time.

The findings come one week after a University of Western Australia study revealed it was “virtually impossible” for parents to enforce the official recommendations of just two hours of screen time for children over two years of age.

Australian family screen time
Fall asleep while using a device
Parents: 17%
Children: 39%

Using devices during meal times
Parents: 15%
Children: 19%

Using devices between 9pm and midnight on school nights
Parents: 62%
Children: 74%

Using a device in front of the TV
Parents: 66%
Children: 71%

Using a device in front of the TV between 7pm and 9pm on school nights
Parents: 50%
Children: 41%

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