Parents scared of losing their kids to gadgets

Nearly half of UK parents are worried about losing their children to technology as youngsters turn to mobile phones and computers for most of their communication needs.

Anyone who has witnessed a grunting, monosyllabic teenager with his or her face buried in a mobile phone at the dinner table will feel for the 46 per cent of parents quizzed in a survey of 1,000 parents and 1,000 kids who felt that technology had changed their relationships for the worse.

A third of the parents admitted they had to compete with games consoles and social networking web sites for the attention of their offspring and more than a quarter felt hurt because they had been made redundant by ever-present technology.

The survey, which was carried out as part of a campaign to get parents to spend an hour a day doing outdoor activities with their children by leccy company Npower also found that more than half of the children surveyed spent more than five hours a day glued to one screen or another, and that more than a quarter preferred to communicate digitally rather than actually having to talk to another human being face-to-face.

The report's author, psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, said: "Just an hour a day interacting as a family can boost confidence and improve verbal communication.

"Because this level of technology was not present when we were growing up, it’s important to use it in a way that enriches our family life as opposed to using it to the detriment of other ways of communicating with each other."