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Modern parents use computer time as bribe

Two out of five pre-schoolers are regularly using computers and tablets.


According to a 2014 survey by Childwise, which has been tracking family life in the UK since the 1990s, it found 42 per cent of children aged 0 – 4 use the devices – up from 27 per cent in the last survey in 2012.

More recently a study by the leading independent research specialists found that parents often use time on tablet or computers as a way of rewarding or punishing their children.

Is this a position you have found yourself in?

The research says: “Parents like tablets because they are controllable – a tablet can be given or taken away to reflect good or bad behaviour, in a way that is not possible with a conventional television set or computer”.

The study looked at more than 2,000 children across the UK, aged 5 to 16.

The most popular destinations online include YouTube and Minecraft.

Daily use of such technology is now so integrated into young people’s lives, with it being the norm for so many of us.

Offering over the iPad for them to play with can often seem like the right thing to do and can be another method for replacing “traditional treats”.

Cathy Ranson, editor of the Netmums parenting website, said: “Banning screen time is the modern version of “grounding” kids.”

The study also found that teenagers allocate the biggest amount of their spare time to using the internet, followed by watching television.

They spend on average more time each night online than they spend in the entire week on sports activities outside school.

So, how to say when enough is enough?

It is wise to set time limits so your children are aware of when it is time to turn off the devices – especially when it comes to bedtimes.

And if you are still unsure here is some more advice:

1. Set family guidelines for appropriate content.

2. Make sure the computer or tablet is used in a common area.

3. Look out for side effects of inappropriate use such as poor school performance, nightmares, talking back to adults.

4. Participate in your child’s online time.

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