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Study: Kids Think Parents Should Have Device Rules, Too

by Chelsey B. Coombs on March 13, 2016

Kids, Parents On Electronic Devices

Smartphones and other devices have become ubiquitous at home, with even the youngest members of the family playing games or watching videos for long stretches of time. According to Pew Internet Research, nearly three-quarters of teens have or have access to a smartphone. As such, we found in a study we conducted with Sprint that 32 percent of parents set rules about where and when their children can use these devices. A new study reports that kids have similar complaints about their parents’ device usage.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Washington, is one of the first to not only ask parents how they make technology rules for their kids, but to ask kids what rules they would like their parents to follow.

What rules did the kids think their parents should follow? Kids wanted their parents to be present and use technology moderately (sound familiar?). And they also asked that parents not act hypocritically by doing the very things they asked their children not to do (“Practice what they preach, stay off internet during mealtimes.”).

Another surprising finding was that 18 percent of the 383 total rules regarded oversharing. Kids would prefer that parents not share information about them without asking their permission, and it’s easy to see why. It’s hard to go on Facebook and not see a million posts from parents about their kids. Facebook seems to be encouraging the behavior with their Scrapbook feature, which lets parents tag their children in photos, and which they’ve said teens will be able to take over when they have their own Facebook account.

Some children also remarked that their parents should let them have their own private time on social media without interference, but many also wanted their parents to establish and enforce technology rules for them. One respondent said, “I think parents should check out websites before kids my age use because there are a lot of bad people out there.”

The authors concluded by saying their results “indicate that families in the U.S. struggle with common challenges around technology use.” It looks like it’s time for us all to reexamine our relationships with technology.

If you want to have better control over your kids’ technology use (or maybe your own), check out our guide to blocking questionable content.

[Father, Mother and Daughter Using Electronic Devices via Dmitri Ma/Shutterstock] 


Family and Parenting, News, Phones and Mobile, Blog, Facebook, Privacy

Discussion loading


From Under Armour on August 02, 2016 :: 6:32 am

We need to follow rules and limitations for them too.



From N James on February 26, 2020 :: 3:48 am

As a parent of kids I welcome this idea, not that I really considered it until I read this article.


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