Screen or Scream!

Recent research conducted by Opinion Compare has identified the many challenges Kiwi parents will be faced over the upcoming two week break. While 73% of parents interviewed agreed that school holidays are a great way for them to spend quality time with their child(ren), 42% said that there’s no ‘holiday’ in school holidays while 35% agreed that school holidays are a financial burden.

The challenge in keeping their children entertained without impacting their back pockets is seen in the word associations with the school holiday period.  69% of parents interviewed describe school holidays as fun, 40% challenged and 30% stress.

Adding to the parental stress is the activities they are planning for their children to do, versus the activities that they think their kids would prefer to do.

The top 5 thing parents are wanting their kids to do these school holidays are:

  1. Spend time with me (76%)
  2. Play at a park (73%)
  3. Go to the movies (64%)
  4. Go to a friends house (55%)
  5. Do art / craft activities (53%)

When asked what their children would like to do in the school holidays, the top 5 list looks different

  1. Go to a friends house (71%)
  2. Watch TV (68%)
  3. Go to the movies (67%)
  4. Spend time with me (63%)
  5. Play video games (62%)

The reliance of screen time is a growing concern for parents, with 22% of parents saying their child spends 4 or more hours on screens/devices during the school term.  Their predicted use of screens and devices within the school holiday period is only expected to grow.  When asked the average time spent on screens and devices in school holiday periods, the facts are concerning

This child does not spend time on screens5%
Under 15 mins2%
15mins – 30mins2%
30mins – 1 hour8%
1 – 2 hours18%
2 – 3 hours17%
3 – 4 hours13%
4 – 5 hours10%
5 – 6 hours9%
6 – 7 hours4%
7+ hours12%

Question: And now thinking specifically about school holidays. In an average day of the week, how long does your child spend on screens / devices during the school holidays?

Furthermore, when asked if parents ever understate the amount of screen time that their children have when speaking to others, 46% of parents admitted to down playing their reliance on screens and devices.  This is despite the fact that 71% of parents are extremely concerned about the amount of screen time their children have.

This research was conducted online with a total sample size of n=805 New Zealanders, part of the Opinion Compare online research panel.

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