Friday, 17 February 2017

Modern Technology is ‘Ruining’ Quality Family Time Together

Modern technology is ruining families' quality time together, according to new research.

Almost nine in 10 parents think gadgets get in the way of their time together as a family – and 86 per cent admit there are times when everyone is at home, but separately watching TV or playing on their phone or computers. Seven in 10 mums and dads even said there have been occasions where they could have been playing or spending time with their children, but were busy on their phone or tablet instead.

More than half also struggle to keep the dinner table a tech-free zone, often having meals where at least one member of the family is on their phone.

The research of 2,000 parents, commissioned by Discover Ferries, the body representing ferry operators and conducted by OnePoll, also found the average family spends just three weeks of real quality time together each year – and just 36 minutes on the average weekday. In comparison, adults spend almost four times as long – one hour and 55 minutes per day – watching TV or playing on their gadgets.

Bill Gibbons, director of Discover Ferries, the industry body for ferry operators, which commissioned the research, said: "Families who are already struggling to get time together now face extra competition from modern technology and social media.

"Most households will have an array of TVs, computers, smart phones and tablets and it's all too easy to spend our spare time on these rather than enjoying the time with your loved ones.

"But holidays are a great opportunity for real quality time together as a family, and for some, is the only time they can really sit back and enjoy each other's company without any distractions they would usually have at home."

BritMums Co-Founder Susanna Scott added: "While disheartening, these statistics aren't surprising – more and more kids are online. Parents work hard during the week, and holidays can often be the only to spend quality time together.

"We've started banning mobile devices during our breaks, and when you are having fun together, they kids don't even notice they are device-free!"

The research also found 55 per cent don't feel they get to spend enough quality time with their children, with household chores, children's homework and long working hours named the biggest barriers. In fact, families spend just 36 minutes of real time together each week day.

Three quarters also believe they spend less quality time with their children, than they did with their parents at the same age.

But holidays are a great opportunity for some real quality time, with families spending an average of five hours and 58 minutes together each day when they are away from home.

Going out for meals together was found to be the best way of spending quality time together on holiday, followed by doing activities together, the evening entertainment and the journey there. And almost half said the entire holiday counts as quality time.

But the average family only gets to spend around two weeks a year away on holiday together.

Discover Ferries Director Bill Gibbons said: "We know how precious a holiday is for all families and all our members do their utmost to make the ferry journey the very start of the family holiday experience.

"Unlike an airplane where families are strapped in alongside each other in front of computer screens, a ferry journey gives families time to stretch their legs, eat a meal together, watch wildlife together.

"On some ships there may be family play areas and time take a few family selfies to remember those moments together."

TOP 10 REASONS FOR A LACK OF QUALITY TIME:
Household chores
Children's homework
Long working hours
School timetables
Family members being more interested in their phone/tablets
Children's extra-curricular activities
Children would rather spend their time playing computer games
Children would rather watch TV
Parents working from home during the evenings and weekends
Anti-social working hours

Is modern technology ruining your quality family time? Let us know on Twitter @theladymagazine #LadyNews


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