The results of a new Kaspersky study reveal that 61% of parents find it hard to be role models for their kids and occasionally don’t follow the rules they set for their little ones. At the same time, more than half of parents (54%) try to establish healthy digital habits and rules for all family members.
From an early age, children tend to copy the behavior and habits of adults in all areas of life, including attitudes toward digital devices. Additionally, many children are handed their first device at a young age — according to the same study, 68% of kids receive devices before the age of 9. With that in mind, parents need to be role models in tech usage if they want to lay the foundations for healthy digital habits from childhood.
The survey results also show that parents perceive norms of behavior to be different for themselves and their children. For instance, almost half (48%) of respondents admitted that they spend three to five hours on devices every day, and the majority (62%) consider this time to be normal.
When it comes to children, almost half (48%) spend the same amount of time on devices as their parents — three to five hours a day. But, despite this, more than half of adults (53%) would like their kids to spend less time on devices — up to two hours.
In some scenarios, respondents consider certain behaviors to be acceptable for themselves but not for their children. For example, 37% of adults believe it’s normal to share photos of family members on social networks. On the contrary, less than a quarter (24%) of parents think this is acceptable for their children.
About 22% of respondents also consider it reasonable to skip calls and turn off their phones so that no one can contact them. However, only 10% of parents think such behavior is acceptable for kids.
“Today, more and more parents are trying to establish healthy digital habits alongside those for nutrition and daily regimes, etc. But there is no clear trend or strong behavior pattern regarding how to specifically establish those rules for digital practices,” said Marina Titova, Vice-President, Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky. “At the same time, our survey results show that most adults (61%) admit finding it hard to be a role model and that they occasionally don’t follow the rules they set for their kids. To help parents to establish healthy digital practices, there are a variety of techniques and tools available to support them. These can be included through roleplay and games, or for a more technical approach, solutions such as apps are available that can help control screen time or determine a child’s physical location.”
From a family therapy perspective, media literacy in families is a very important topic. It is also important for children to be able to develop well.
To help children spend their time on the internet securely, you can:
- Surf and learn together. See where children spend their time online and explore how to best keep them safe.
- Consider downloading parental control apps and discuss this topic with your child to explain how such apps work and why they need them to stay safe online.
- Involve yourself in children’s online activities from an early age, so this is the established norm, and so you can ‘mentor’ them.