Britain’s kid zombies check smartphones every few minutes

By Kitty Knowles 24 January 2017
Kids sitting with mobile devices in street. Pic: iStock/JackF

Do your children need a digital detox?

Your kid doesn’t need to play dress-up now to turn into a living zombie.

Today, one in three children will check their smartphones every few minutes, a new study has found.

That’s around 6m kids in Britain who are being sucked into their smartphones continuously throughout the day.

And (on average) British children are going online from their smartphone or tablets for three hours a day, finds market research agency Childwise

Kids today

Smartphones are useful, and many apps and games are educational, playfully teaching skills that can be applied to school, or wider life.

Indeed, Childwise’s annual report suggests that most kids feel their devices helped them to learn.

But some also reported a worrying reliance.

Roughly one in four kids said that they found it challenging to go for long without checking their smartphones, and even confessed they’d missed sleep because they’d been too obsessed.

This minority also said they wanted to be able to spend more time away from their gadgets.

The gateway drug?

Childwise research director Simon Leggett said that tablets were the gateway that got most kids into tech, but that kids now expect more online entertainment – even when they’re out of the house.

“Tablets were a gateway to apps and the internet for many children: they were the technology of choice and widely endorsed by parents,” Leggett told The Times.

“Children now expect the same level of functionality when they’re out and about – and the mobile phone delivers that.”

Our desire to set our kids up for the digital world is seeing them tied to their smartphones.

If you want a different future for your kids, you’ll have to act fast.

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