Between smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs, children’s exposure to screens is at an all-time high.
Between smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs, children’s exposure to screens is at an all-time high.

Modern problem causing parenting pain

KIDS' screen time has skyrocketed, and is now a major battleground between parents and their children.

An exclusive Sunday Mail/Seven News parenting poll of almost 2000 Queensland mums and dads has found managing screen time is now the second highest parenting concern in the state.

Parents say they're worried the trend is stopping them from communicating with their kids and it's causing regular family fights.

The third annual parenting survey conducted by Triple P - Positive Parenting Program also found parents are concerned their kids are not eating well and being active.

Triple P founder Matt Sanders said the two concerns were linked and said it was crucial for parents to lead by example.

"In order for kids to be fit and healthy, they have to run off the technology; they have to have smartphone and tablet-free time which is turning into a battleground for many homes - and from very early on," he said.

Between smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs, children’s exposure to screens is at an all-time high.
Between smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs, children’s exposure to screens is at an all-time high.

Almost half of the parents surveyed reported having disagreements about the use of electronic devices.

Of those, 13 per cent said it was having a big impact on their lives; while 42 per cent said they were talking less to their kids as a result.

Prof Sanders said mums and dads needed to make sure they were good role models when it came to screen time.

"Parents who are out shopping and talking on the phone or using access to the internet whenever there is a pause type of moment - that's what kids are learning. We've got to practice what we preach.

"There is a deep penetration into our family lives of technology and one of the biggest challenges of modern parenthood is to learn to manage this properly so that kids are not disadvantaged and family relationships are not disadvantaged."

The survey also found that fewer parents reported smacking their children.

"But we need to get it much lower," Prof Sanders said.

 

 

Between smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs, children’s exposure to screens is at an all-time high.
Between smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs, children’s exposure to screens is at an all-time high.

 

"In the vast majority of cases parents who are smacking are prepared to let it go if they can find a better alternative and there is only a small proportion who smack all the time or do it frequently.

"But all it takes is an angry parent who is lashing out … Abuse does occur and it is still a significant problem."

Prof Sanders said bullying was also a major concern.

"Two out of every five parents are saying their kid was bullied in the past 12 months," he said.

"This is a justification for the State Government … being prepared to develop a taskforce and a plan around what to do to reduce bullying."

And he said good parenting was part of the solution. Research showed that coaching children in social skills and how to make friends could help stop them being bullying victims.

"Parents have a huge role to play in reducing bullying," he said.

"Kids who develop significant behavioural difficulties, who are oppositional and who have conduct problems are at a greater risk of being involved in bullying.

"One of the things that stops kids being bullied is that they have friends."



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