‘Turn off technology for safety’ - Parents on their mobiles put children in danger.
Thursday 16th June 2016
New research from the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) in the UK shows how mobiles are putting children at risk of serious accidents. 1 in 4 parents (24%) admit their child has had an accident or near miss when they’ve been engrossed in their mobile phone.
Over two-thirds (69%) of parents surveyed said they are distracted by their mobile phone, with over three-quarters (77%) confessing they usually check texts and posts as soon as they come in.
Digital natives are the most mesmerised by their mobiles, with 85% of parents under 35 immediately checking for updates, and 40% admitting their child has experienced an accident or near-miss while they’ve been engrossed in their phone.
There was no difference between mesmerised mums and distracted dads in terms of numbers of childhood accidents – though dads were less likely to admit they found their phones distracting.
This behaviour is rubbing off on children themselves, with almost 1 in 6 (15%) suffering an accident or near miss, like stepping out onto the road without looking, whilst on their own mobile phones. This rises to almost 1 in 4 children and young people (22%) in London.
It comes as recent surveys have laid bare our dependence on digital devices, with 30% of British adults checking their phone at least once every 30 minutes, and over a third (34%) checking their phone within 5 minutes of waking up.
Two thirds of adults now own a smartphone, spending nearly two hours every day browsing the internet, accessing social media and doing their banking and shopping. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of motorists often see gadget-obsessed pedestrians walking off the pavement without looking.
Commenting on the research, Dr Clarissa Quinnell, a junior doctor at University Hospital Southampton, said:
“Accidents often happen when we’re distracted and mobile phones are increasingly to blame – whether it’s a teenager stepping out into traffic while instant messaging or a baby grabbing at a hot drink or biting into a liquitab while their parent is replying to a text.”
Commenting on the findings, CAPT Chief Executive, Katrina Phillips said:
“Mobile phones are a godsend for parents under pressure – we can do the shopping, keep in touch with friends and family, and keep our children entertained. But while we’re mesmerised by our mobiles, we’re putting children in danger. Serious accidents happen in seconds, often while we’re distracted, and mobiles are seriously distracting. That’s why we’re encouraging families to turn off technology at pressure points during the day, to help keep children safe.”
Serious accidents can happen alarmingly quickly –when we’re answering a call or checking a text. By turning off technology at crucial times in the day, parents can give their children their focus and so keep them safer when pressures mount. It also sets a good example to children and young people to turn off technology when crossing the road or other times when you need to concentrate to stay safe.
The use of technology, especially smartphones, is universal. This means the theme offers an opener to engage with families across the board, including those most at risk from accidents.