Can you guess how many devices the average Aussie kid owns?

A new study highlights the ambivalence Aussie parents feel about the promise - and the threat - of technology in the lives of their children. 

The average Aussie kid owns three digital devices, and fewer than half go an entire day without using them, a just-published study from UNSW's Gonski Institute for Education has found.

Yet despite supplying tablets, smartphones and laptops to their children - at least some of the time as required by schools - fully three-quarters of caregivers told researchers it was harder to manage their child’s screen-time once they owned their own device.

Over two-thirds of parents reported that “negotiating digital technologies causes conflicts in our home.”

And the biggest concern shared by parents, carers and grandparents?  Distraction.

Eight out of ten mums and dads are convinced their kids are negatively distracted by their screens. (And more than 90% of parents say it’s a problem shared by the grown-ups in the house.) 

On the plus side of the technology ledger, parents see clear educational benefits for their kids. They also appreciate the way devices keep family members connected. 

Over two-thirds of parents reported that “negotiating digital technologies causes conflicts in our home.”

So how can we - as parents or as a society at large - reconcile the positive and the negative? How do we ensure sustainable digital wellness for our kids? 

Taking basic steps

“We need smart solutions,” says Professor Pasi Sahlberg, Deputy Director of the Gonski Institute. Yet the evidence shows not enough parents are taking even the most basic steps to maximise the benefits technology offers - while minimising the harms. 

The most worrying finding, Prof. Sahlberg notes, is that a third of families allow kids to use their screens after bedtime every day - this despite clear evidence that the practice increases the risk of harms like cyberbullying and predator abuse, while interfering on both a physical and psychological level with restful sleep. 

The evidence shows not enough parents are taking even the most basic steps to maximise the benefits technology offers - while minimising the harms. 

Upwards of 60% of kids who struggle at school snuggle down with their devices at bedtime.

Unsurprisingly, other studies have found two-thirds of teachers say more kids are arriving at school tired and not ready to learn. 

Difficulty in managing screen-time at home was a common experience for the majority of parents surveyed. Roughly half told researchers they would welcome more support from their child’s school to manage online behaviours at home. 




Over 2,000 schools across the world trust Linewize by Family Zone to protect over a million students at school AND at home.

Is your child's school one of them? 

 

 

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Topics: Cyber Bullying, Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, Excessive Device Usage, digital parenting, bedtime, digital wellness, growing up digital

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