Almost 90% of Kiwis consider their child's screen time the biggest parenting concern

NZ 26/11/2021

Do you worry about how much time your kids spend on their devices? You are not alone.

Health insurance company nib New Zealand has released the findings from its third annual nib State of the Nation Parenting Survey, which looked at the concerns of 1200 parents around Aotearoa. In this year's results, it discovered 88% of Kiwi parents believed the use of technology and the effects of screen time was the biggest issue.

Mental health, followed by 'managing any behaviour issues' were labelled the second and third biggest concern Kiwi parents felt this year.

Neuroscience educator Nathan Wallis says the latest findings are not surprising as parents will be very uncertain about the effects of screen time. However, he finds the "impact on mental health" the most worrying consequence of screen use.

"The top concern after screen-time was 'mental health', and I think those two are interconnected," Nathan Wallis told The Breakfast Club.

Nathan Wallis discusses screen time and mental health (27.49 onwards):

"It's not so much the content [of what's on screen], it's the flashing lights. And the flashing lights stimulate the stress response system."

He suggests parents who want to reduce screen time for their kids should look at giving their children device-free time, and a parent's solid "time and attention", even if it is for one minute.

"That will normally spark them off and keep them engaged in their play."

Other concerns from parents in this year's survey were not spending enough time with their kids, feeling pressured to keep up with other parents, and their child's addictive tendencies towards devices.