There is no shortage of studies showing the ill effects of screen time on young, developing minds.
Yet while many parents set rules in place to limit their kids’ electronics time, most aren’t doing the best job role modeling themselves. According to new research, three out of five American parents admit that they spend more time on their electronic devices than their kids do.
On average, moms and dads spend nearly five hours a day on electronic devices. Sadly, that’s more than the less than four hours they spend on meaningful activities with their kids, according to the survey of 2,000 U.S. parents. Most parents (80%) own three electronic devices or more, with the majority of their kids (81%) owning at least two electronic devices, highlighting the enormous presence of technology in households.
Only two percent of their kids do not own any devices.
The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Campspot, reveals that more than half of U.S. parents (60%) are seeking ways to escape technology and reconnect with their kids. With nearly eight in 10 (79%) of parents claiming their experiences with their children are more memorable without the presence of electronic devices, it’s no surprise that most (52%) parents have attempted to limit technology usage within their households.
Moms and dads are encouraging more outdoor play (76%), setting time limits (74%) and creating device-free zones (63%). The majority also started engaging in outdoor family activities this summer, with camping and hiking trips (59%) emerging as the most popular choice. That’s followed by picnics (58%) and visiting amusement and water parks (58%).
“Summer is the perfect time to unplug and reconnect with what truly matters – our families,” said chief marketing officer at Campspot, Erin Stender. “We know the power of stepping away from screens and immersing ourselves in nature, since it’s often in these moments that we create the strongest family bonds. Camping in particular offers a unique opportunity for families to experience new adventures together, fostering not only a love for the outdoors but also nurturing children’s self-development.”
American parents agree, with a majority asserting that outdoor activities foster communication and connection (60%) within the family as well as create lasting memories that help a family bond (57%).
With camping trips deemed the most popular summer activity, parents are seeing the positive impacts that specific camping activities have on their children’s personal development. These include nature walks (44%), campfire cooking (42%), fishing (38%) and setting up tents (32%).
Parents also noticed a positive shift in their own parenting style when outdoors. Seventy-two percent reported being able to focus more on family time, while more than half (52%) admitted to feeling more relaxed and laid-back in such environments.
“By spending quality time without electronic devices, we give ourselves the gift of undivided attention, fostering deeper connections and meaningful conversations that become the foundation of lasting memories,” Stender said.
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 parents of school-aged children was commissioned by Campspot between June 21 to July 7, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).