Struggle Over Summertime Screen Time is Real for Parents and Kids

SALT LAKE CITY, June 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ – With kids having access to technology at younger ages than ever before, parents are taking more control over their kids’ screen time, with 84 percent of parents surveyed requiring that they grant permission before their children spend money on games online. The research, conducted by WildWorks, a leading developer of online worlds and free-to-play games, analyzed parents’ involvement today in their kids’ online activity.

Hinting at the high level of parental oversight today when it comes to their children’s Internet usage, over 80 percent of parents implement a time restriction when it comes to playing games online, and over 75 percent always check the safety of games before purchase.

Parents are growing more cognizant of their kids’ screen time, as over 40 percent of parents believe their children spend too many hours playing online games; however, they’re paradoxically realizing the positive impact of games – especially those that are educational – on their children’s development. Seventy-one percent of parents agree that online games/apps help their child relax and unwind, 66 percent agree that online games/apps help to broaden their child’s imagination, and 48 percent believe gaming is a great way to teach their child autonomy.

“Parents today are experiencing a divide between how much independence to give their kids, and how far they want to go to limit their kids’ screen time,” said Clark Stacey, CEO of WildWorks. “But there’s a middle ground where parents and kids can meet to empower children to explore the Internet and raise responsible digital citizens. It starts with open conversations about online safety, which we infuse into everything we do in Animal Jam, so that kids can learn the skills needed to safely navigate the Internet.”

Those conversations are more important now than ever since summer vacation brings more free time for kids to spend online. In fact, more than 68 percent of parents say their child spends the most time with games during school holidays and breaks.

This new generation of digital users – kids ages 6-12 – wants to get involved with social media culture, but most platforms today aren’t built for beginner-level networking. Instead, parents report that children are turning to online games and apps as a way to be social with friends. The research shows that 75 percent of kids use games to meet new friends and 80 percent to connect with known friends.

Animal Jam, the online playground developed by WildWorks for kids who love animals and the outdoors, offers kids a way to discover the online world and connect with friends – but in a safe and positive environment. With more than 75 million registered users in more than 200 countries, Animal Jam is now the number one web-based game and social network for kids in the world and its app was just awarded “Best App for Kids” at the Google Play Awards. Animal Jam implements a team of game moderators and online safety experts to keep the game safe on all platforms. To ensure kids’ online safety as they head into the summer months, Animal Jam recommends that parents:

  • Reinforce “stranger dangers” to your kids and explain the importance of protecting their anonymity even while playing online
  • Make a house rule or “pledge” that they will never share personal information such as their full name, address or phone number
  • Continually engage in conversations with your children about proper online etiquette and behavior
  • Encourage your kids to report any inappropriate behavior when playing online games and to come speak to you when something makes them feel uncomfortable
  • Create an environment where kids play on the computer in a public or central location in your home

Visit our safety page for more safety tips while playing Animal Jam.

Methodology

WildWorks commissioned a survey, interviewing parents with kids ages 6-12 to identify parents’ perceptions of their kids’ gaming habits in the United States. A total of 2000 parents participated in the survey.

About WildWorks

WildWorks is an interactive entertainment company that creates super fun games for kids. Its audience expertise, brilliant game design, and dedication to ethical online commerce ensures that both parents and kids feel happy and safe during playtime. A kid’s attention is a terrible thing to waste, which is why WildWorks is committed to constantly innovating new ways to educate and delight through purposeful play. For more information, please visit www.wildworks.com.

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