NZ Herald 27 August 2014
Parents who worry about their children constantly staring at their smartphones should set an example by not using their own devices so often – and set ground rules for screen-free mealtimes, parenting groups have said.
The Government’s childhood star, Reg Bailey, told The Independent that British parents were letting “screens take over” and should talk to their children more often. He added that families needed to increase their “face-to-face” time and should gather around the dinner table rather than the television for meals.
Suzie Hayman, a trustee of the parenting charity Parentline Plus and the author of How To Have A Happy Family Life, said families were “getting worse” at talking to one another and that the proliferation of smartphones and other devices was partly to blame.
“It’s not just parents giving in to letting their children having more screen time – it’s also parents themselves,” she said. “If you ask a family what’s the first thing they do when they get home, they all admit it’s ‘Look at Facebook’, either on mobile phones or on laptops.
Instead of sitting round the dining table chatting, what they’re doing is chatting with friends who are miles away. As a child, if your parents do it, then that’s your model.”