Kid with Smartphone Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Power of role model: How the habits of parents and kids are interrelated

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A new study by global cybersecurity solutions company Kaspersky has shown a direct correlation between how much time parents and their children spend on devices. With 82% of adults and 70% of little ones spending at least three hours on gadgets every day, the data shows that kids are likely to copy the amount of time their parents spend using devices.

The study results demonstrate the correlation between the amount of screen time of parents and children. The majority of kids and adults – 48% each use their devices at the same time during the day – for 3-5 hours. Additionally, the majority of parents are convinced that both they (62%) and children (58%) spend a sufficient amount of time online.

In September 2021, Kaspersky commissioned Sapio to conduct an online survey of 11,000 respondents from various parts of the world to explore the role of healthy digital habits in the family, as well as the effect of parenting habits on children and vice versa. The survey involved adults who live with their children aged 7-12 years old, full-time.

61% of adults struggle to follow digital rules they set for their kids — Kaspersky
Kaspersky: Majority of parents remain cautious with kids’ online activities

In addition to this, the results show that kids actively adapt the way they use devices based on their parents’ usage. For example, when 80% of parents spend less than two hours a day on devices, their children do, too. If adults use their gadgets more than two hours per day, kids are just as likely to do the same, with only 19% of cases showing that children who are exposed to this example engage with gadgets less than 2 hours a day.

Family time

At the same time, according to the reports’ results, children whose parents regularly use devices spend more time behind the screen on various digital habits. For example, kids whose parents commonly use gadgets spend an additional 39 minutes online during meals. Texting while carrying on conversations adds to children an average of 41 minutes of screen time and sharing family photographs on social media adds a further 31 minutes per day – time that really adds up.

“As we see from the data, the more hours parents spend on gadgets, the more hours kids are likely to spend on theirs,” Marina Titova, Vice President, Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky. “Parents want to ensure better screen-time balance for their children and their main challenge is how to achieve this. Today there are tools available that can help parents improve digital wellbeing for their kids and ensure their screen time is secure and balanced. Setting an example themselves is also a great option,”

“In our practice, too, parents’ and families’ use of digital media is always a prominent topic,” said therapists Birgitt Hölzel and Stefan Ruzas from the Munich practice Liebling + Schatz. “Many parents are convinced that it is sufficient to clearly regulate their children’s media time and control the type of content they have access to. But instead of worrying about effective punishments, parents should first reduce their own media consumption.”

Kaspersky recommends the following steps if you want to help your children and ensure they are using devices in a secure way:

  • Spend more time communicating with kids about online safety measures. Try paying attention to your own habits: Do you use your smartphone when eating or chatting? See if there is a pattern with your kids doing the same or if they react in a different way when you put away the phone.
  • Consider downloading parental control apps and discussing this topic with your child to explain how such apps work and why they need them to stay secure online.
  • Ask your child not to agree with any privacy settings on their own and ask for parents’ help. Adults should get in the habit of reading any privacy agreements as well.

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