A new study has shown that today’s parents use tablet computers in a bid to control their children’s behaviour. A parenting website has branded restrictions on tablet computer use as the “modern version of grounding”.
The Childwise study suggests parents reward children by allowing them to spend more time on their tablet computers, and restrict time spent on tabs as a punishment.
According to the survey, there has been a big increase in the number of children using tablets such as iPads. The Childwise study has tracked trends in UK family life for two decades.
Technology and children
Children are now growing up surrounded by a wealth of technology, including tablets, laptops, smartphones and video games. In fact, the study suggests that children now spend more time online than they do watching TV.
Tablets are now overtaking laptops as children’s technology of choice, becoming a vital tool for parents in bargaining within the home. The study describes tablets as “controllable” because they can be given and taken away to reflect positive or negative behaviour – as rewards, children can extend the activities available on their tablet through the purchase of apps.
The study points out that there is also the strong perception of educational advantages.
The study took a sample of 2,000 children between the ages of 5 and 16. It showed that some of the favoured online destinations of children included YouTube and online Minecraft.
The research director Simon Leggett says access to the internet is now so integrate into the lives of children, they no longer view it as a privilege but as a fundamental right. Children in the 13 to 16 age group used the internet for an average of 2.5 hours a day, while two-fifths of five to seven year olds spent an average of an hour a day on the net.
Why is this important? As a business, looking at the prevalence of the internet and computers in young people’s lives should instill the importance of a strong internet presence. After all, if five year olds are doing are accessing the benefits of the online world, you should be too.