We’d all like our kids to come up for air from their phones and other assorted devices once in a while. However, it is important for parents to set a good example themselves. It is difficult for parents to gain the trust and buy-in from their children when discussing their technology usage; if they are themselves tapping away on a smartphone to check the latest celebrity gossip, TV soap news, football scores or Game of Thrones plotlines during dinner time.
Recent Ofcom research  suggests that the average 12-15 year old spends almost 19 hours surfing the internet each week. The ways in which they are able to access the internet is varied, with 73 per cent having access to tablets and almost four in five (77 per cent) having their own smartphone. The trend is very similar for parents themselves with two thirds (66 per cent) owning a smartphone, 54 per cent having a tablet and, on average, spending nearly two hours online each day (almost 13 and a half hours per week).
A survey from AVG Technologies  found that 54 per cent of children felt that their parents checked their devices too often, and 32 per cent felt unimportant when their parents were distracted by their phones. As Anastasia Dewaal, chair of charity Family Lives said recently  “Constantly looking at our mobile phones has become part of our natural behaviour […] it is a modern day peril and we really do need to ensure we’ve got our smartphone habits in check.”
Something needs to be done. As a father of three children, I have had first-hand experience of how obsessive usage, anonymous chat sites, online bullying and content can effect family life. This is why I founded haandle, I knew that a solution to keep their online habits safe and healthy was needed. However, I also understand that reconnecting the traditional family union will require effort from both sides.
No parent likes to see their children hide in a corner for hours, staring at a lit screen, or wants to see them suffer in silence when the online world turns nasty. Every parent would want to intervene and help, or have a way to limit the worst excesses of the digital age.
With haandle, parents can protect children from the more unsavoury areas of the internet, limit their screen time and set a fair bedtime agreement for every device in the home. This, in turn, will help parents to reconnect with their families and allow them to use the great resource, which the internet is, in a safe and controlled environment. It may even give them a little more time as a family, even if it’s enjoying the simple things in life such as eating dinner or watching television together.
For more information on how haandle is reconnecting families, read about our mission: