A lot of Canadian parents are worried about how much time their kids are spending on their iPhones and other electronic devices, a new poll has found.
But while the percentage is high, it’s not as high as many might guess.
“While most parents (89%) acknowledge that such devices can be a valuable educational tool for young children, nearly half (46%) remain concerned that their child is spending too much time in front of a screen,” reads a September 3 media release distributed by the Angus Reid Institute.
For children 10 to 12 years old, the number is a bit higher, at 52 percent.
The poll found that on an typical weekday, 31 percent of Canadian kids spend one-to-two hours staring at a screen, 34 percent take in between two-and-four hours of screen time, 14 percent stare that their phones and computers for four-to-six hours, and eight percent of children in Canada spend more than six hours on an electronic device each day.
However, not all screen time is bad screen time, an Angus Reid report on the poll notes. There are upsides for one group of kids, even for those who spend hours everyday looking at a screen.
“Notably, children with disabilities are more commonly placed in this ‘high technology usage’ group,” it explains. “That is, parents of kids with physical, developmental or learning disabilities are more than twice as likely as other parents to say their child spends upwards of four hours per day in front of a screen. However…parents of children with disabilities often find significantly more educational benefit from digital devices.”
Another finding of note concerns differences in how Canadian boys and girls use their devices.
“Children’s screen activities appear to vary significantly based on gender and age. Boys are nearly twice as likely as girls (35% vs. 20%) to frequently use their devices for non-educational gaming, driven in large part by pre-teen boys (49%),” the report reads. “On the other hand, pre-teen girls stand out as the group of children most likely to rely on their devices for social interaction and communication.”
The report includes information on what Canadian parents are worried about in relation to their children’s electronic devices.
“Half believe devices are addictive and/or contribute to children not getting enough exercise,” it reads. “Smaller, though still significant, proportions mention screen time’s potential to distract from more important things (33%), expose kids to inappropriate content (23%) or impair their social skills (20%).”