Tuning out of family time: A quarter of parents say gadgets get in the way

By NaomiTroy

· Over half of parents want to spend more quality time together as a family

· Over a third say that gadgets have the biggest impact on the amount of time they spend together as a family

· Almost one in five say their children couldn’t go more than two hours without technology

The time that we spend with our families may be suffering as a result of an ever-increasing reliance on technology and gadgets, according to new research from energy company E.ON1.

The research, which surveyed 1,000 parents about their attitudes towards technology use in the home, found that more than half (53%) of parents would like to spend more quality time with their children and partner. But over a third (37%) believes the increasing prevalence of gadgets in the home is their biggest barrier to quality family time.

One in five (19%) parents don’t believe that their children could go tech-free for more than two hours before complaining. And over a quarter (28%) say their kids prefer playing on their tablets and phones or watching TV, rather than spending time with mum and dad.

Parents’ peeves

The findings also show that it’s not just children’s use of technology which is having an impact on the time we spend together in our homes. When asked about their own personal technology peeves, parents cited receiving calls or messages late at night (43%), family members using phones at the dinner table (37%), children using their phones during family time (34%) and having the TV on during mealtimes (22%) in their list of most annoying habits.

Using a phone to text or browse the internet while talking to your loved one is a source of annoyance for one in five couples (17%), with women twice as likely as men to be irritated by their partner using a phone during a conversation (23% of women compared to 11% of men).

Anti-social screen time

UK adults are spending around one sixth of their day watching screens2 but E.ON’s research indicates that the credits may be starting to roll on the days of watching television together as a family:

· Over two thirds (67%) of parents say their families tend to watch the same television programmes on different screens;

· While four in ten (39%) opt to watch the same programmes as one another in different rooms around the house.

Beverley Maguire, Energy Efficiency Expert at E.ON, said: “In a world where we’re busier than ever, technology can make life easier. But there’s often a fine line, and a bleeping phone or a glowing tablet screen can hinder the time we spend together as a family.

“Our research shows that switching off completely for anything longer than a day or two can be challenging, but over half of the parents we surveyed said they’d like to spend more quality time together with their family. So it seems there’s definitely an argument for getting away from gadgets – not least because reducing the amount of time we spend plugged in can also have benefits for our households’ energy consumption.

“Whether it’s going back to basics with a board game or just using fewer devices around the home, there are lots of small steps you can take towards more tech-free time. If you’re looking for inspiration, our Saving Energy Toolkit is a great place to start – log on to see how your household’s energy use compares to similar homes nearby and to better understand where savings can be made.”

For more information on E.ON’s Saving Energy Toolkit and for detailed advice on how to use no more energy than you need, visit eonenergy.com

Ends

Notes to editors:

1. Based on research with 1,000 parents of 4-18 year olds, carried out by OnePoll in February 2015.

2. Ofcom’s 2014 Digital Day report found UK adults spend an average four hours 17 minutes viewing audio visual content through a variety of media, including live, recorded and on-demand television, plus DVD and Blu-Ray: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/cmr/cmr14/2014_UK_CMR.pdf (page 128)

For more information please contact:

Naomi Troy, 02476 180 523, naomi-troy@eon-uk.com

The information (including any forecasts or projections) contained in this press release (the “Information”) reflects the views and opinions of E.ON on the date of this press release. The Information is intended as a guide only and nothing contained within this press release is to be taken, or relied upon, as advice. E.ON makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about any of the Information (including, without limitation, any as to its quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose) and E.ON accepts no liability whatsoever for any action or omission taken by you in relation to the Information. Any reliance you place on the Information is solely at your own risk. This press release is the property of E.ON and you may not copy, modify, publish, repost or distribute it. © E.ON 2015

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