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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Over Half of Parents Acknowledge the Key Educational and Safety Advantages of Smartphones for Children, With Established Home Guidelines for Beneficial Use

The endorsement of smartphone use by children for safety and reassurance by parents hinges on the establishment of suitable guidelines. No usage during school hours and limitations on internet access are among the primary mobile phone rules set to foster secure and constructive mobile phone usage. Yet, the topic of texting at the dining table remains a contentious issue across the country!

A study carried out by the family tracking application and safety membership organisation Life360 has shed light on the chief advantages identified by UK parents of children aged 13 and below from mobile phone ownership, as well as the strategies they employ to nurture secure and wholesome smartphone usage habits.

The investigation underscores the fact that, in an era where families are increasingly tech-savvy, a considerable number are turning to technology for comfort in modern-day parenting, particularly for the reassurance provided by the ease of monitoring their children’s locations.

The research shows that nearly two in three (64%) parents believe that smartphone ownership can have a beneficial impact on their children’s education and learning, while a notable 67% view safety and security as the most critical reason for providing their offspring with a mobile phone, eclipsing other considerations such as convenience and social interactions. The prevailing view among parents is that children ought to have a mobile phone by the age of 13.

Key mobile phone guidelines instituted by parents include prohibiting use during school time, setting a limit on the total daily usage time, and banning usage at night. Other prevalent mobile phone rules entail app usage restrictions, limits on internet browsing, and restrictions on the household areas where the phone may be used (such as usage being permitted only in communal areas like the living room and not in private spaces like bedrooms).

Parenting specialist Kirsty Ketley, who was tasked by Life360 to create proposals for parents on promoting positive smartphone habits among children and adolescents, remarked:

Responsible use of phones can be essential to support today’s parenting, from coordinating busy family schedules to giving peace of mind that kids are safe when not physically with them. It’s important that parents set clear rules and guidance for their families and especially for their kids when they get a smartphone as this encourages safe habits that they benefit from right into adulthood.
“Of course, children learn from their parents, so the same rules should apply to every member of the family who owns a phone when it comes to when you use the phone, how and where. Setting the right example will ensure the right behaviour.”

Additionally, the study indicates a split in opinions on the use of phones at the dining table, with half (50%) of the parents whose children possess smartphones implementing rules against its use during meal times.

Parental control over internet content also stands out among the regulations for children’s smartphone use, with 61% of respondents monitoring the websites their children access and 38% reviewing their text messages. When questioned about the first type of app their child downloaded on their smartphone, gaming apps were the most frequently mentioned (45%), followed by location-sharing apps (18%).

Among parents whose children own smartphones, a vast majority derive comfort from actively using location-sharing technologies, with a consensus that it markedly increases their readiness to allow their children to engage in significant activities such as travelling to and from school (86%) and visiting city centres or malls with friends (86%) without adult supervision.

David Rice, International GM and CSO at Life360, stated: “We commissioned this research to understand real-life concerns of UK parents and the steps they take to feel reassured about their children’s safety. The findings reinforce the fact that using location-sharing apps can provide families with a sense of security about each other’s safety and whereabouts whilst opening lines of communication, improving trust and allowing kids more freedom.

“It’s advantageous for young teenagers to have access to smartphones as this technology frequently becomes an essential aspect of daily family life spanning multiple generations and is crucial in exceptional emergency scenarios.”

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcockhttps://businesslancashire.co.uk/
Sam Allcock is a highly regarded digital entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in online marketing for some of the World’s biggest brands. He has extensive knowledge and experience in SEO and digital marketing. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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