"Mummy, phone please!" - Being smart about device use by kids

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Read this article to find out more about device use by kids in Southeast Asia.

device use by kids

Did your own childhood look like this?

Mums and dads – take a moment and think back to your own childhood. What did you do in your spare-time, after school or on weekends and holidays?

You certainly must have played outside with your neighbours from down the road. Perhaps you talked to your own parents at length about what your day was like.

Didn’t you just love listening to your grandparents’ tales of yesteryear? Or you might have read a book, from cover to cover, just because you loved reading and you had the time to do so.

These days, our kids spend their free time differently.

They are children born into a world of technology, and as such, gadgets and electronic devices like Smartphones and tablets feature quite heavily in their little worlds.

It’s common to see even young toddlers skillfully using devices to watch and listen to their favourite shows and songs. Older kids are more often than not whizzes at device-use, using them like miniature tech pros.

But while many of us let our kids use devices, we also know about some of the not so desirable effects of prolonged device use by kids, such as addiction, impact on eyesight and the correlation of device usage with childhood obesity.

device use by kids

Even very young kids seem to have an in-built ability to navigate their way around electronic devices!

Concerns about privacy and what kind of content kids are exposed to are also issues parents face.

But at the same time, as parents, we also know the increasing use of devices by our children is inevitable in this technology-driven world.

If you ever doubted your parenting skills when you saw your child staring at a Smartphone or tablet, know that you are not alone (and it’s nothing to do with your parenting skills either!).

You’ll be interested to learn that you are among a whopping 98% of South East Asian parents who allow their kids to use a device of some sort! And these parents share exactly the same worries and concerns you probably do when it comes to your kid’s device usage.

device use by kids

 

This was revealed by a recent study conducted by theAsianparent Insights and Samsung Kidstime™, which looked at how kids in the Southeast Asian region use devices and how parents control their children’s device usage.

The “Mobile Device Usage Among Young Kids: A Southeast Asia Study” was conducted in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and over 2,500 parents of kids aged between 3 to 8 years old took part in it.

device use by kids

A very large number of kids in South East Asia use electronic devices on a daily basis

What did the study find out?

The study was conducted in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines earlier this year, and over 2,500 parents of kids aged between 3 to 8 years old took part it.

Here are some of the most interesting findings:

  • 98% of parents in Southeast Asia let their kids use devices, with Singapore having the highest number of kids using a device owned by their parents.
  • Parents mostly allow their kids to use a device for educational purposes. Kids are also allowed device usage by their parents for entertainment, early exposure to technology, and to keep them quiet or busy.
device use by kids

Mums who participated in the survey shared their kids’ device usage behaviour.

  • Even though parents want their kids to use devices for education, kids mostly use their devices for entertainment purposes (surprise, surprise!). They also use devices for over 1 hour per sitting.
  • Parents are very worried about exposure to inappropriate content, addiction and health problems when it comes to their kids’ device usage.
device use by kids

Parents share their worries and concerns on device usage.

  • Because of this, parents want devices to come with control mechanisms so they can monitor their kids better.
  • Some of these control mechanisms parents would like are being able to set a time limit, preventing in-app purchases, and the ability to monitor usage progress.
device use by kids

What monitoring features do most parents want in their devices?

What the study makes clear is that parents are very aware of both the benefits and risks of device use by their kids. What will put their minds at ease is if devices can have parental control features and they are used by their kids mostly for educational purposes.

This is not to say that kids should only be learning Maths and Science when using a device. But even if they do use it for entertainment, then the content they view should be meaningful and ideally teach them something useful.

device use by kids

What are your kids really downloading on their devices?

So how do you make device use a meaningful experience for both yourself and your kids?

Check out for our next article for some tips!