Kids more addicted to devices from a young age
BABIES, toddlers and preschoolers are hooked on electronics, with nearly half spending too much time on screens before they start school, according to their parents.
By the time they're teenagers, 70 per cent spend too long on tablets, phones, video games and computers, according to a survey of 2600 Victorian parents by the Parenting Research Centre.
The survey results show 13 per cent of babies aged up to two - who are not supposed to be on electronic devices at all - spend too long on screens, their parents say.
The report, which will be released on Wednesday at the Australian Institute of Family Studies annual conference in Melbourne, also shows 25 per cent of children aged three to five spend too much time on screens.
This rises to 44 per cent of children aged six to 12.
"Parents need as much support as possible to manage this issue," Catherine Wade, principal research specialist and co-author said.
"The figures for six to 12-year-olds are quite high.
"Some parents use screens for educational purposes and not just distraction, but this is still a major problem many parents are facing."
The study shows 45 per cent of parents do not monitor their children's online activity and 38 per cent do not supervise them.
However, 75 per cent say they establish ground rules about electronic device use by their children and 67 per cent say they limit their screen time.
Those who say they don't monitor their children's use of devices include one in 10 of parents with children aged up to two, and 22 per cent of those with teenagers.
"Of those who said their child spent far too much time or too much time, 14.8 per cent did not monitor their child's use of devices," Dr Wade said.
"Parents are using a wide range of strategies to monitor use, but some are quite unconfident about what to do.
"There's a gap - and parents need more information to help them monitor what their kids are doing online.
"There's a steep learning curve for many parents who find it hard to keep up with technological changes."
She said parent confidence could be improved in this area.
Other data shows 20 per cent of boys aged 11 to 17 spend five to eight hours a day on screens on weekends and 25 per cent spend three to four hours.
The Raising Children Network, a government resource for parents, has tips for parents on monitoring online use.