Won’t somebody please think of the children? The famous refrain from The Simpsons character Helen Lovejoy would make for sound advice for the social-media-addicted parents who are increasingly neglecting their kids for an online fix.
Although that hysterical plea for engagement is often challenged, it turns out that children do want to be noticed, at least when it comes to their parents’ hypocritical application of the rules they put in place regarding the use of tech.
A new survey conducted by researchers in the U.S. has found that children want their parents to put their phones away at mealtime and stop posting pictures of them online, reports The Independent.
The study into restrictions on technology in a household involved 249 families with children between the ages of 10 and 17. Instead of simply asking about the adults’ views, the researchers also questioned the participating kids on rules they wished to impose on their parents.
Overall, researchers found seven common themes. In addition to the aforementioned rules, children wanted their parents to be more present and to stop using devices during conversations, and to use devices in moderation at home.
Children also highlighted safety concerns regarding tech, urging their parents to stop texting while driving or at a traffic light. They also agreed with the existing rules their parents had put in place to protect them, but ultimately felt they should be allowed to make their own decisions without the fear of interference from an adult.
In terms of the hypocrisy of said rules, children felt that parents should also abstain from using their phones at mealtimes. Additionally, they claimed that their photos should not be shared online without their explicit permission. Explaining their reasoning, children often stated that they found the content embarrassing and felt frustrated when their parents continued to do it.
The adults, on the other hand, favored enforcing privacy rules on kids in order to lower the risk of them sharing personal information online.
“Our results indicate that families in the U.S. struggle with common challenges around technology use,” concludes the study conducted by researchers from the University of Washington and University of Michigan.
“Children find it difficult to comply with requests to disconnect, parents share more information online than their children are comfortable with, and the most salient concern among both parents and children is the desire for all family members, regardless of age, to pay attention to one another when in one another’s company.”