Smartphones cause family row every single day in British homes study finds

Although parents were as or more likely than those in the US or Japan to feel their teenagers spent too much time on the phone, Britons were the least likely to feel it had damaged their relationships. And more than half of parents and almost two thirds of teenagers always or very often felt the need to respond immediately to texts, social media messages and other notifications.The Telegraph has been campaigning for a statutory duty of care on the social media and gaming firms to better protect children from online harms. Mobile phones provoke conflict and argument every day in a fifth of Britain’s families, according to a ground-breaking study into their impact on family life.Half of parents and teenagers admit they get distracted by their phones on a daily basis with similar proportions also saying they feel “addicted” to their devices.As a result, conversations and meal-times are regularly disrupted with both children and parents critical of each other’s usage.Almost two-thirds of parents felt their teenage children spent too much time on their devices but more than a quarter (29 percent) of the children said their parents were also on their phones too much.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Two-thirds of families said they set rules on the use of mobiles in the home such as a ban at meals or bedtime but 70 percent admitted they were broken, mostly by the teenagers but in up to 17 percent of cases by parents.The study of 1,200 parents and their children aged 13 to 17 by US-based Common Sense Media and University of Southern California (USC) is the third in an international series that for the first time enables comparisons with the US and Japan.British parents and teenagers were, in each other’s eyes, seen as the most addicted to their phones of any of the three countries. However, the technology was most likely to cause daily arguments in US households. Willow Bay, dean at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, said that while there was conflict, parents and children also saw benefits in the technology that could enhance relations.“We have to find a way to integrate them into our lives and the lives of our children. This is the first generation of parents immersed in the technology but also helping their teenagers manage mobile devices and social media,” she said.Parents rated screen time as one of the top three sources of regular conflict between them and their teenage children alongside rows over chores and bed times.A third of parents said phones interrupted conversations, and 28 percent said they disrupted meals. While a fifth said phone usage caused a row at least once a day, another quarter said it was once a week.More than a quarter of parents (27 percent) and almost half of teenagers (48 percent) said they checked their devices within five minutes of waking up.Another 45 percent of parents and 31 percent of teens check their devices within 30 minutes of waking up. More than half of parents and teens admitted they checked their phones at least every hour. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more