Some parents "spend more quality time with their devices than with their children"

Phones, laptops and portable devices are now an essential part of most people's daily lives and government data shows that 95% of all households own at least 1 mobile phone.

But now experts are warning that our screen obsessions could be damaging family relationships- Especially those between parents and their children.

A US study recently reported that some parents admitted they spend more quality time with their devices than with their children.

If parents are focusing all their energy on a screen, their children will begin to compete for their attention.

This can mean that children become sad, lonely or angry which can lead to bad behaviour.

At The Gymboree Children's play centre in Solihull parents say that they are very aware of the amount of time they spend on their phones.

One father said: ''You do feel guilty because you are neglecting their time."

Another parent added: "I try not to go on my phone too much when they are about and playing but it can be very distracting and messages are pinging up and stuff just to give it a little check. But I think a lot of things now is the little ones going on your phone to watch videos so it's trying to limit their time on it as well.''

One primary school in Derby became so concerned that pupils were't receiving the attention they deserved at the school gates they put up a "No Phones" sign.

A school in Derby were concerned that children were not receiving the attention they needed at the school gates. Credit: ITV News

The non-profit organisation Internet Matters, which was set up to protect children online, says that parents need to limit their screen time in order to be a good example to their children.

Besides impacting relationships, too much screen time can also be linked to:

  • Vision problems: Strained, dry eyes, blurry vision and headaches

  • Obesity: Some studies link screen time to inactiveness

  • Neck and back problems, due to poor posture when using screens

  • Poor sleeping patterns

  • Impaired cognitive function and reduced ability to process information

8 tips to reduce your screen time:

1. Don't eat meals in front of a screen:

Instead of scrolling through news or social media on your meal breaks, try to give your eyes a rest- And enjoy your food.

2. Don't charge your phone in your bedroom:

Remove the temptation to check your screen during the night and take your phone out of your room. Some research also suggests that checking your phone before going to sleep can interrupt your sleeping pattern.

There have also been incidents of phone chargers heating up and setting on fire if they are left on a pillow.

3. Opt for phone calls or face to face meetings instead of online chats when possible:

With busy schedules and big work loads it can be difficult to arrange meeting times to please everyone. But instead of dragging out email chains or long, online conversations, try to meet with colleagues in person. Or at least pick up the phone.

4. Find new ways to find things out:

With easy access to information online we can forget about other methods such as books, libraries or even asking the people around you.

5. Cut down on computer socialising:

The internet allows us to stay in touch with people on the other side of the world- But too much computer chatting can be bad for our eyes. Try and limit online conversations.

6. Don't watch movies or TV in your bedroom:

Opt to watch TV or films in a room other than your bedroom. If you're watching a show in bed in the evening then you'll probably be more likely to continue watching it for longer.

7. Limit your non-work screen time:

If you're not at work try and avoid checking work emails to reduce the amount of time you spend in front of a screen.

8. Set an alarm:

Give yourself a set amount of time to check social media or complete online tasks. When that time is up, stop.