Nearly two-thirds of parents in the UK say that their children struggle to concentrate on homework in the home as they are constantly distracted by social media, messaging, online games, and other online services according to new research by BT Whole Home Wi-Fi.
72% of parents with children aged 7-18 claim that when their child is doing homework they look on the internet for the answer, and 50% of parents think it takes their kids longer to finish as they get distracted. When it comes to turning off devices at bedtime 25% of parents acknowledge regularly arguing with children.
Other key findings from parents include:
- Only 48% of children will come off the internet when their parents ask
- 33% of 10-16 year old children say they’ve turned off their devices at bedtime when they haven’t
- 64% believe modern technology gives children access to a world of knowledge
54% of parents would like better built-in controls to help manage their family’s online time. BT claims its Whole Home Wi-Fi helps parents with a variety of features including the ability to pause the internet for specific devices, and smart wi-fi scheduling to help with bedtimes and offline time.
Internet Matters Top Tips for Parents
- Agree a routine and appropriate length of time children can be online
- Put in place a family agreement to set the boundaries – don’t break them!
- Use technology and apps to manage screen time and Wi-Fi access, especially at bedtimes
- Talk together about the time you spend online
- Get the whole family to unplug and create ‘screen free zones’
- Set a good example with your own device use
Says Bruce Cuthbert, Director of BT Devices:
“There are so many benefits for our children online, and an equal number of distractions. With kids back in school and autumn upon us, we’re spending more time indoors and the temptation is for kids to spend more time online.
“With Whole Home Wi-Fi, parents can pause and schedule connectivity in the home by device to help children focus during study time and improve their sleep, finding the right balance of online and offline time for the whole family.”
Nearly half of parents asked (47%) have admitted that the use of technology and being online means they don’t spend as much time with their children as they would like to. Over half of parents (54%) wish their children would come to them with homework questions instead of using a search engine or voice assistant.
In addition, the new research showed that children’s favourite thing to do with free time is to go online, with 82% of 14 year olds choosing to go on YouTube.
Says Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters:
“Whether it’s playing the latest game, or the constant pressure of feeling they need to respond to their friends’ messages, being connected can be a huge distraction for children. Combined with open discussions with children about being online, tools like Whole Home Wi-Fi that allow families to schedule their connectivity can be hugely helpful for parents trying to create a healthier balance of screen time versus family time.
“Children respond well to clear boundaries, so having a routine of when they can go online and when they can’t helps prevent that common tug of war over the tablet or games console. Our top tips on creating a healthy home environment for screen time can guide parents in how to tackle some of the challenges they face.”
Internet Matters has developed guidance for parents with BT to help families find the right balance for online time at home. The BT Whole Home Wi-Fi research surveyed 1,000 parents with children under the age of 18
Other key findings from the research include:
- 67% of all children would choose to spend time on YouTube during spare time in the family home
- 60% of parents use the internet as a reward for good behaviour
- 82% spent more time playing outside when they were young compared to their children
- 45% of 16-17 year olds spend two hours online during term time, with around 50% spending over four hours online during the school holidays