MOST Australian parents think the car is a great place for a family chat but 76 per cent say their kids are usually on a mobile device when on the move, a new Galaxy poll has revealed.
Kids aged three to 16 typically use digital media on car trips, parents said, with mobile phones, tablets, computer games and television the most popular activities.
The poll, commissioned by Ford Australia, surveyed more than 1200 people and it also revealed it’s not just the kids hitting their screens.
Adults said when the kids aren’t in the car the non-driver is most likely (63 per cent) to be using a mobile device to make calls, check social media, send emails or play games.
Psychologist and social commentator Sabina Read said it is worrying that people often seem more connected to a virtual world than their own families.
“Adults are behaving in the same way. We need to acknowledge our own behaviour as what we do, rather than what we say, speaks volumes,” Read said.
“We’re all in the car every day so why not maximise this time in the day to listen.”
Despite the high use of mobile devices while on the move parents said they typically had quality family time while in the car (40 per cent).
And going on a trip somewhere new was most likely to inspire conversation en route said 70 per cent of parents.
“Technology itself is not the enemy ... families just need to find ways to disconnect from their devices and reconnect with each other,” Read said.
But it was concerning that 20 per cent of parents thought it was acceptable for children aged between three and nine to have their own mobile device.
On average, Australians think 11 is the right age for children to have their first mobile device.
The Galaxy survey also found time in the car can spark kids’ imaginations and get them chatting.
Read said: “The best conversations often happens in cars for a few reasons, from no eye contact to fewer distractions, providing a safe space for loved ones, especially children, to open up.”...Read more