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Family Life Is Suffering From Screen Overload

North Carolina-based Relay, the screen-free kid-tough smartphone for kids by Republic Wireless, has released the results of an extensive survey on the impact of screen time on families. The results of Relay’s “Bring Back Play” study shed light on the impact caused by a shift away from outdoors free play to screen time. And, the results indicate that most families have lost the balance at home. The shift in how time is spent at home is undeniable. Key findings include:

  • The average household has 15 tech devices – 10 of them with screens; On average, that is 3.7 devices and 2.4 screens per person.
  • Kids as young as six are asking parents for a smartphone and by the age of 12 most parents have given in.
  • By the time they are six, almost half (49%) have already asked for a smartphone.
  • By the time they turn 12, more than half (63%) of all kids have a smartphone.
  • Screen time has become a full-time job for kids.
  • Teenagers (12 to 17 year-olds) are spending 45 hours in front of screens weekly.
  • Six to 11 year-olds are spending 33 hours in front of screens each week.
  • The increase in screen time has killed a kid’s desire for outdoor play and other activities.
  • Only one in 10 kids (9%) consider outdoor play their favorite activity;
  • One-third of kids (34%) would pick more screen time over other activities.
  • The decline in outdoor play represents a huge shift from how parents spent their childhoods.
  • While 73% of parents fondly remember playing outdoor games with friends, like FourSquare, Tag, and Capture the Flag, only 9% of kids (ages 6-11) say outdoor games are their favorite.
  • Parents agree that current levels of screen time are unhealthy and changing their kids for the worse.
  • 42% of parents believe kids today have less independence than they did when they were growing up.
  • 51% of parents believe kids are less imaginative than they were growing up.
  • Parents struggle to find screen time balance but most have lost the balance.
  • The majority of parents (76%) agree too much technology is a “bad thing” at home.
  • More than half of parents (59%) have found that screens time interrupts quality time within the family.

The study also highlights that screen time is often at the root of household strife. Additional findings include:

  • A third (36%) of parents frequently argue with their kids about screen time and about a quarter (26%) argue with each other about how much screen time should be allowed.
  • 52% of parents suffer their children’s anger and frustration when telling them to put away or turn off their screens.
  • 79% of parents say that their kids lose screen time due to misbehavior or not accomplishing assigned chores, homework or other activities.
  • 50% of parents also say that their kids can earn screen time back by accomplishing other activities away from their screens including tasks around the house, reading, and homework.