Kiwi parents worry about kids’ tech use, but struggle to control their own – advice from parenting expert Nathan Wallis & nib

  • Technology use and the impact of screen time is the number one concern for 70% of parents surveyed – down from 87% in 2020, and 89% in 2019
  • Almost half (47%) said negative impact on health and wellbeing is a particular worry
  • Yet, 50% said they spent too much time on their own devices, and 66% admit to relying on screens as a bargaining chip and to distract children

Leading health insurer nib New Zealand (nib) has released further findings from its fourth annual State of the Nation Parenting Survey.

The survey, which nib conducts annually with global research company One Picture, canvassed the views of 1,226 parents, step-parents and guardians of children under 18, nationally.[1]

This year the survey shows technology use continues to nag at parents, with the real impacts on health and wellbeing increasingly evident.

Technology use remains the number one worry for 70% of parents, with 24% ‘extremely concerned’. The amount of time kids spend online worried 75% of parents; inappropriate content (74%), online bullies and predators (66%) and the negative impact on health and wellbeing (47%) were also issues.

More than a quarter (27%) felt screen time affected their child’s ability to focus and concentrate, while 21% said they have noticed problematic shifts in behaviour. A further 22% said device use causes conflict in their families.

Parents also admitted to lacking discipline when it comes to their own screen time. Half (50%) said they felt addicted to their devices, while two thirds (66%) rely on technology as a distraction for their children.

During the last six months, most (70%) parents have taken action: limiting kids’ screen time (52%) and taking away devices as punishment (57%). Among Māori parents, 32% block certain apps (versus 25% nationwide) and 25% have direct access to their child’s device (compared with 19% nationwide).

Nathan Wallis, nib‘s parenting expert, said that parents are in an incredibly difficult position given how integrated devices are today in our work and home lives.

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