Technology is making kids whiney, cranky and disengaged

30 Nov 2015

On the flipside, 20pc of parents feel that smartphones make parenting easier

Almost half of parents in Ireland have noted that too much screen time is causing a negative change in their child’s behaviour.

An Early Childhood Ireland screen survey of parents found that 48pc of parents found a negative change in their child’s behaviour after using technology, describing that behaviour in a range of ways, ranging from angry to emotional, tired, cranky and disengaged.

The survey found that 89pc of parents have access to high-speed broadband, 77pc have a tablet and 92pc have a smartphone.

Despite saying technology makes their kids cranky and disengaged, around two-thirds (66pc) said they believe it is okay for a young child to use technology freely.

In fact, 20pc feel that smartphones make parenting easier.

Worrying trends

Support Silicon Republic

“There are some worrying trends and contradictions coming through from the survey, with the majority of parents citing relaxation as the purpose of allowing children screen time, while nearly half of them notice a negative change in their child’s behaviour post screen time,” said Teresa Heeney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland.

“Also, the findings that 66pc of parents believe it is okay for a young child to use technology freely, with 85pc of under two-year-olds watching TV and DVDs, shows a real disconnect between the guidelines and the reality of screen usage in homes in Ireland.

“We recommend that parents should have clear parameters around screen time for young children, especially at bedtime. We would stress that monitoring and moderation and doing as you say are all key to getting the balance right for all the family and in issuing the survey and the guidelines we want to prompt more debate on this,” Heeney said.

Kid with tablet image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years