Children Spend Too Much Time Online Without Their Parents Checking

61% of parents admit to never having checked their child’s devices

spend too much time online

RS Components asked parents in the UK, with children aged 16 and under, their views when it comes to kids and technology.

  • Over 60% (61%) of parents have never checked their child’s devices, such as smartphones, iPads and gaming consoles
  • Over a third of fathers agreed that children were safer with a mobile phone rather than having no way to contact them
  • Nearly half (47%) of parents agreed that children spend too much time online
  • Despite parents thinking their children spend too much time online, 46% of parents agreed that technology has a positive impact on children’s lives
  • Nearly a third of parents agreed that girls are more negatively impacted by social media than boys

June 2019: RS Components asked parents around the UK their thoughts on kids and technology. The survey included a series of questions that covered the amount of time they thought their kids spent on different devices, the appropriateness of different social media platforms, if they used parental controls and whether they checked their children’s devices. You can see the full findings here.

Children are spending, on average, 3 and a half hours on their smartphones a day, however parents across the UK think their children are spending an average of 1 hour 18 minutes – that’s a difference of over 2 hours. Almost half (47%) of the parents asked agreed that children spend too much time online. Despite children spending an average of 7 hours a day using technology, 43% of parents would not ask their children for help when it comes to using the internet or tech devices.

When it comes to safety online, parents across the UK expressed more concern for girls than boys, with over a quarter (26%) of parents agreeing that girls are more vulnerable online. Nevertheless, only 14% of parents admitted to regularly checking their child’s devices and social media without their knowledge and 61% of parents said they had never checked.

The majority of parents believed that 11-12 was the right age for children to have a smartphone and personal laptop, however parents thought ages 6-8 was the right age for children to have a games console.

See how parents ranked the appropriateness of different social media platforms below:

social media

Generation Z’s views 

Generation Z are the most prominent users of social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, therefore seeing their opinion about how kids use tech showed some interesting results. 32% of people ages 16-24 agreed that girls are more vulnerable and negatively impacted by social media than boys, however only 12% of 16-24 year olds think that age limits for social media accounts should be higher for girls. What’s more, 48% of 16-24 year olds strongly disagree that boys and girls should be treated differently when it comes to access to social media. Although, the generation that uses social media the most have expressed concern for girls online, they don’t agree that treating genders differently online will stop girls being targeted.

Parents across the UK

71% of parents in Norwich have a parental control system set up on their child’s devices, which is the highest figure across the UK. However, the city with the lowest figure is Edinburgh, with 38% of parents admitting to not having any parental controls on their children’s devices. 80% of parents in Cardiff don’t use a tracking software to see where their child is, which is the highest figure for any city. Parents in Liverpool are expressing the most interest in seeing where their children are, with 21% planning to set up some sort of tracking software on their kids devices.

Alexandra Berger Senior Vice President Marketing & Communications at RS Components comments:

“For parents, it is really important to be able to contact their children whenever they need to, and in this day and age, where technology is at the forefront of all communications, it’s so easy to speak to someone in seconds. However, with child safety online being a well debated topic it is surprising to see that only 14% of parents admitted to regularly checking their child’s devices.

“Nevertheless, phones and tablets are being incorporated into classrooms and used as tools to help kids learn and progress through their education which shows the benefits of technology and how it can work well with kids.

“It goes without saying that parents are keen to monitor their kids’ movements and screen time to keep them safe, so it’s paramount that kids are getting the right balance between staying safe online but also making full use of the amazing technology available to them.”

Do you think your children are safe online? See how parents in your city are monitoring their children’s devices in the new infographic.

kids and tech

Source: RS Components


About RS Components:

RS Components is the UK and European trading brand of Electrocomponents plc. RS Components supplies electrical and electronic components, tools, testing equipment and related items through the internet, catalogues and at trade counters.



About the Author

Jacob Wolinsky
Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of ValueWalk.com, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Prior to ValueWalk, Jacob was VP of Business Development at SumZero. Prior to SumZero, Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at)valuewalk.com - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver