The Ultimate Parental Threat? Taking Kids' Phones Away

For today’s children, free time equals screen time

For parents, the benefits of digital devices come with a particularly difficult challenge: Managing their childrens' use of those devices.

According to a June 2018 survey from Edelman Intelligence, commissioned by snack brand GoGo SqueeZ, the majority of US parent internet users (76%) believe their children are spending too much time with digital devices.

They have an answer for that problem: schedule activities to keep kids busy (and off of their phones). The downside, though, is that kids end up with less free time, and parents don't necessarily like that idea, either. Fully 72% of the parents surveyed said their kids have less free time than they enjoyed in their own childhoods.

The desire that kids feel to pick up a device is powerful. Half of respondents said their children will reach for a digital device just to occupy themselves.

How much time are kids spending on screens? According to a January 2018 Morning Consult survey, 43% of US parent internet users allow between 2 and 4 hours of screen time per day, while 15% think a child’s daily screen time shouldn’t exceed an hour.

A June 2018 CivicScience survey found that roughly 40% of parents are "always" being asked for more screen time by their children.

The response? Over six in 10 parents said taking away their child’s smartphone is the “ultimate threat” when they’re misbehaving.