53% of parents worry too much screen time during lockdown could make children addicted

Only 12% of parents claimed that their children were using screens for learning

More than half (53%) of UK parents are concerned that excessive screen time while schools are closed during the lockdown could cause addiction in their children later down the line.

With school closures driving an increased use of tech among 1.4m more children, research commissioned by British children’s media company Azoomee has revealed that parents across the country are worried about the long-term effects of heavy use of platforms such as TikTok and YouTube, with 49% of parents voicing concerns that their kids are spending too much time engaging with the social channels.

More than 2,000 adults participated in the study, which follows a recent Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) inquiry and report which explored the relationship between immersive technologies and addiction.

The Azoomee research revealed that just under two hours (114 minutes) of screen time is defined as the acceptable daily amount, while in reality, parents say that their children want to spend all day on their phone, playing video games or watching TV.

In related news: Researchers launch survey to test edtech success during lockdown

On a positive note, 80% of adults said they either know what their children are watching online or that they had parental controls in place. Just 12% stated that screen time is spent learning, highlighting the fact that laptops, mobile phones and other devices are primarily being used as entertainment tools. This is supported by almost half of parents claiming that screens are “very helpful” for keeping kids entertained.

On top of this, 72% of parents admit to feeling frustrated, exhausted and out of their depth when trying to balance working and home schooling, with a further 30% saying they are struggling to get their kids to learn during the pandemic.

“While screens can provide a very positive means of engaging children, kids are always going to see inappropriate content on platforms like YouTube,” said Azoomee CEO, Douglas Lloyd.

“Combining controlled positive screen time with outdoor play and real-world interaction with parents and siblings is however the best way of keeping children entertained, educated and happy.”

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