Saturday, June 25, 2011

How are you spending your time?

The average parent sends 600 texts, 312 emails and spends 28 hours on the phone every year - just keeping track of their children.The study of 5000 mums and dads revealed the extraordinary lengths modern parents have to go to so they can keep a watchful eye on their off-spring.

As well as regular emails, parents also bombard children with texts and phone calls in a desperate bid for family time and get-togethers, according to the study by National Family Week (30 May - 5 June). In fact, one in five parents admit the best method to keep track of their child's whereabouts is via social networking sites like Facebook.

And 20 per cent of parents claim they stand a better chance of talking to their child if it's through technology.

This backs up research carried out by Skype, which found that almost half (49%) of those surveyed admitted their hectic lifestyle was preventing them from spending quality time catching up with family and friends, leaving them feeling guilty (51%) and depressed (38%).

More than three quarters of parents believe that family life in the UK has suffered at the hands of technology, according to National Family Week study. 43 per cent of parents said that when they do try and plan a family get-together it's hard to try and pin everyone down - which bothers two thirds of the parents polled.

In total, the typical family in Britain spends less than two and half hours of quality time together in an average week, compared to over four hours a week as per the result of a similar study by National Family Week in 2010.

Noel Janis-Norton, director of "Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting" and spokesperson for National Family Week 2011, says, "It's worrying that in one short year quality time in families has been reduced by almost half. When children and teens prefer to be with their friends, either in person or texting, parents may wonder whether it's right to insist on families spending time together. The answer is a resounding YES. We need to insist because otherwise screens can take over more and more of a young person's life. Children and teens need to spend a lot of time with their parents. This is how young people will absorb important values.

"Parents are reluctant to insist because kids complain that it's boring or that they would rather spend time with their friends. If you insist you will see that your children and even your teens can enjoy your company and at the same time be learning so much about life values and important habits. They don't learn these things at school because it is not the school's job. They can't learn these things from their peers because their peers also, naturally, have immature values."

Of the 5000 parents that took part in the study more than half 54 per cent said that on their part day-to-day chores and errands were the biggest disruption to family life, followed by long working hours.

Here's a tip from Noel, "After dinner, before allowing everyone to scatter, have all family members spend fifteen minutes as a team clearing the table, doing the washing up, tidying, feeding the pets, whatever needs doing. This eliminates nagging and interrupting children after they are already engrossed in their own activities."

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