Parents and kids accuse each other of spending too much time online. Photos: Jan Haas and Frank May / NTB scanpix
A new survey on media use reveals that Norwegian parents are critical of the amount of time their children spend online at the expense of other recreational activities, but their children feel the exact same way about them.
“It is interesting that both groups believe about the same about each other,” Thomas Haugan-Hepsø of the Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet) said.
In the agency’s ‘Children and Media Survey 2016’, three out of every ten children say that their parents spend too much time both at work and on their smartphones. One in five believes their parents spend too much time on social media, surfing the internet and playing games on their computers and mobiles.
Meanwhile, every fourth child said that their parents do not spend enough time on sports and fitness.
Compared with previous years, the survey revealed a particular increase in the number of youngsters who think their parents spend too much time on their mobile phones.
“When you ask young people about their own use of the internet and smartphones, they answer that their use leaves them time for other activities. With age, the percentage who say it takes time from other things, like being with their friends, increases,” Haugan-Hepsø said.
The survey revealed that children between the ages of nine and 16 years spend much more time on the internet, and social media than their parents think. While 72 percent of girls and 51 percent of boys aged 15 to 16 reported that they spend two hours or more mobile in a day, only 36 percent of girls’ parents and 18 percent of boys’ parents thought their kids were online that much.
“Since 2014, we’ve see a general tendency that parents have become more negative towards screen time, but their actions don’t reflect that. When children are young, parents are very active and monitor media use, but when the children are 10 to 11, the parents fall off completely,” Haugan-Hepsø said.
Medietilsynet’s survey is carried out every second year and Haugan-Hepsø said there are clear trends among kids’ media use.
“The use of social media is growing, especially among the youngest. Already as nine to ten-year-olds, very many of them are on Instagram and Snapchat,” he said.
The survey also revealed positive developments.
“We can see that schools are on track both with orientating students on internet use and using IT in teaching. We can also see an increase in the proportion of children who say they tell adults or friends when they experience or see something negative on the web or social media,” Haugan-Hepsø said.