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Parents struggle to get kids to ‘unplug’

Convincing children to turn off the TV or computer is more difficult than getting them to do their homework, go to bed or take a bath, a UK poll suggests.


Almost one in four mothers and fathers (23.1 per cent) found it difficult to control the amount of time their son or daughter spent watching television or playing on computers, tablets and phones, according to the Action for Children survey.

In comparison, just one in 10 parents (10.3 per cent) found it difficult to get their youngsters to do their homework, while 17.5 per cent struggled with getting them to bed, 10.5 per cent had trouble getting their child out of bed and ready in the morning and 4.6 per cent found it difficult to encourage their offspring to take a bath.

The poll, which questioned around 2000 parents, also revealed that healthy eating is an issue for some mothers and fathers, with nearly one in five (18.6 per cent) admitting that they found it difficult to get their child to eat the right foods.

The findings come amid continuing concerns that youngsters may be spending too much time online or watching TV, with some experts previously warning that pupils can turn up to school tired after spending time in front of a screen late at night.

Carol Iddon, managing director of operations at Action for Children, said: “Technology is an often necessary part of the lives of children and parents alike, but it’s important to maintain a balance with other activities and quality family time.

“We know from our extensive work with families that strong relationships with parents build resilience in children, making them less susceptible to bullying or abuse outside the home, and encouraging them to speak to their parents about any fears or concerns.

“As well as the conscious effort to cut down on screen-time, some parents benefit from additional support, such as dropping in for a chat or attending support groups at children’s centres, to learn how to better connect with their children.”

The children’s charity has published a series of tips to help parents to get their children to “unplug” from their TV and computer screens. These include planning family activities that do not include technology, and creating a weekly schedule based on the idea of one hour of technology use equalling one hour on other activities.

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