A third of parents regret giving their children games consoles, mobile phones and computers, a study has revealed.
Fears about the effect it has on their patience, creative and social skills and even the quality time they spend as a family mean 34 per cent of parents wish they could take back the gadgets their kids now spend hours playing. And 67 per cent are often left feeling annoyed by the amount of time their children spend sat on their computer or watching TV instead of taking part in more traditional childhood activities.
More than two thirds of parents are so concerned that they have even tried to confiscate their gadgets. Another 73 per cent limit the time the youngsters can spend using their gadgets or watching TV each day, but half admit they often end up giving in.
Catriona Marshall, CEO of Hobbycraft, which commissioned the research said: ”With the majority of children being given these gadgets by their parents, most mums and dads are finding it difficult to change things now.
”They face the dilemma of whether to give in and let their kids watch or play what they want, or put their foot down and line up some creative games and activities.
”With so much emphasis placed on children to achieve academically from a young age these days, the beauty of creative activity is that whatever the child creates, regardless of their ability, there is always someone to love, cherish and appreciate it which is great for building their self-esteem and confidence.”
The study, of 2,000 parents of children aged 3-16 found that more than half of youngsters have a handheld games console, while another 50 per cent have a games console such as a Nintendo Wii. And four in ten kids have their own TV in their bedrooms. But the huge variety of gadgets now owned by kids sees them spend three hours and five minutes every day watching TV, playing computer games or surfing the internet.
Two thirds of parents blame the gadgets for reducing the amount of quality time the family has together, and because of this, 80 per cent are thinking of getting anything but a gadget for their child’s next birthday or Christmas present. The study also found that half of parents regularly argue with their kids about their gadget use, with one in four saying the rows happen daily.
But 43 per cent admit they often give in and let them play or watch what they want for an easy life. Researchers also revealed that 62 per cent of parents wish their children were more creative, although 74 per cent admit they also need to encourage this more.
However, less than half of parents said their kids would know how to make a paper aeroplane.
Emma Kenny, Media Psychologist, comments: ”Generation C (Connected) who are those born from 2000 onwards are experiencing a different type of childhood than any other generation.
”It is important to consider the longer-term effects a lack of creative activities in childhood can have, with lack of concentration and patience becoming increasingly evident as well as a lack of problem-solving skills which creative activity helps develop.”
This half-term Hobbycraft are encouraging children to ‘Make, Create and Celebrate’ with glove puppet-making sessions nationwide. To find out what’s on in store over the holidays and for locations, visit www.hobbycraft.co.uk.