Average parent uses smartphone '240 times a day'

The average parent uses their smartphone 240 times a day, according to new research. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

People are being asked to put down their smartphones, tablets and computers for 24 hours this Sunday - as figures show the average parent uses their smartphone 240 times a day.

Parenting website myfamilyclub.co.uk studied more than 6,500 parents across the UK.

It found the average parent with a smartphone uses it 240 times a day, including texting, emailing and interacting on social media - the equivalent of four hours of usage a day.

Parenting experts are warning that these 'digital distractions' are harming real-life relationships and vital face-to-face communication skills.

  • Typically, parents first click on their phone between 7-8 am, with 20% of parents clicking on before 6am and 22% of parents making midnight their last click at night.

  • Around half of the parents surveyed (47%) log into Facebook or other social media sites before doing anything else.

  • The statistics also revealed that over half of parents sleep next to their smartphone.

This Sunday is the second annual National Unplugging Day, where people are encouraged to spend a whole day without emails, texts or social media.

The day is not intended to be a one-off, but a starting point to encourage people to make time for each other.

We want to encourage the nation to put away their digital devices, unplug and pledge to spend time doing something different with their children such as going out for a bike ride, going the park, learning a new activity or taking a walk in the woods. I'm urging all individuals to check how much they are using technology and look at the impact it is having on those around you. I certainly didn't realise how much time I was spending on my smartphone until my oldest son pointed it out.

Gemma Johnson CEO and Founder of MyFamilyClub.co.uk

While smartphones and computers have revolutionised the way we live, the over-use of such devices is now considered by some to be an addiction similar to drugs or alcohol.

Psychologist Dr Kimberley Young, who runs the Internet Addiction Clinic, says it's important parents with young children are aware of the example they're setting.

Children have access to the internet almost from birth now. They see their parents playing on their mobile devices and they want to play too. It's difficult, because having a device can also be very useful in terms of having a reward, having a pacifier. But if you don't get the balance right it can be very dangerous.

Dr Kimberley Young, Psychologist