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What would your child say about your mobile usage?

What would your child say about your mobile usage?

It amazes me how our human behaviour can vary so dramatically under different circumstances or through different strains and stresses. For me, there is a marked difference for instance, as for most people, between holiday time and a normal working week.

Unfortunately, the marker for me is evidenced in how much I am on my phone…. Once school is back in session, the email traffic builds up, and I find myself compulsively checking my phone to stay on top of correspondence. Unfortunately, this sometimes spills into time when I am at home, to the detriment of the contact time that I have with Georgie and my three little boys. Indeed the wider problem of overuse of mobile phones by parents was highlighted to me this week in a BBC article which reflected on a survey of 2000 teenagers conducted by Digital Awareness UK.

In the survey, more than a third of students said they had asked their parents to stop checking their devices. 14% said their parents were online at meal times, although a separate poll of parents saw 95% of them deny it.

Some other facts from the article included statistics from the pupils including that:
• 82% felt meal times should be device-free
• 22% said the use of mobiles stopped their families enjoying each other's company
• 36% had asked their parents to put down their phones.

Of pupils who had asked their parents to put down their phones, 46% said their parents took no notice, while 44% felt upset and ignored.

Despite this, only a minority of parents (10%) believed their mobile use was a concern for their children - although almost half (43%) felt they spent too much of their own time online:
• 37% said they were online between three and five hours a day at weekends
• 5% said it could be up to 15 hours a day over a weekend.

While we accept the advances of technology, this news struck me as a stark warning. It is increasingly important that we audit not only our children’s but also our own use of devices, and more importantly, I encourage you to retain and fiercely defend our most important face-to-face time which we will never get back; that which we have as families. I know I am going to.

Duncan Sinclair
Headmaster TPS