Parents Say Kids’ Screen Time Has Skyrocketed During Pandemic

New study commissioned by NortonLifeLock reveals how the current pandemic has impacted children’s at-home screen time, device access and parents’ concerns around Cyber Safety.

The study underscored that nearly 7 out of 10 parents (69%) said that their child’s screen time has heightened during the pandemic, with around 3 in 5 feeling they have no choice but to allow it (60%) and that they accept certain risks to their child’s online safety to keep them entertained and occupied (57%).

“This study shows parents like me are not alone in struggling to find ways to keep our children safe and entertained during the pandemic,” says Kevin Roundy, technical director, NortonLifeLock. “With fewer social gatherings, schools adopting distance learning, and many parents working from home, it comes as little surprise that parents have had to shift their kids’ activities to digital devices. However, all of this unsupervised time spent on devices leads to an influx of Cyber Safety risks that parents should be aware of, including device hacking, location tracking, and risk from online predators.”

Conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll, more than 1,000 U.S. parents of children ages 5-17 were interviewed for the study, revealing nearly half (49%) have had to abandon some, if not all, of their previous rules for screen time. The study found children are spending roughly 1.5 more hours in front of screens per day on school days, excluding time spent for school purposes – a 52% increase1 in screen time compared to prior to the outbreak.

Almost 7 in 10 parents (67%) indicated that their child’s unsupervised screen time has increased due to the pandemic’s effect on work and school. Among those who said their child’s screen time has skyrocketed during the pandemic, prominent reasons include keeping their child entertained and occupied (70%) and giving their child a way to connect with friends and family (52%).


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