• 77% parents claim that their children complain about parents’ excessive use of smartphones.
  • 96% parents and 93% children express desire to have deeper relationships with their children and parents respectively
  • To help people get back control over their smartphone relationships, vivo India encourages everyone to join them on December 20th in switching off their digital screens for an hour and spend quality time with family and loved ones

In today’s digital era, smartphones have become an indispensable companion of our daily lives. However, the ubiquity and excessive use of these digital devices have cast a shadow on the sanctity of our cherished relationships. With an objective of sensitizing people on excessive use of smartphones, and in turn improving peoples’ relationships with smartphones, vivo, the trusted global smartphone brand, in association with Cybermedia Research (CMR) unveiled the findings of the fifth edition of vivo Switch Off Research study today. The study titled ‘Impact of smartphones on Parent – Child Relationship’ focuses on how excessive and mindless use of smartphones is hampering bonds between parents and children. Click here to know more.

Beyond the boundaries of a conventional report, vivo has pledged to raise awareness around responsible use of technology by commemorating 20th December as ‘Switch off’ day. Through this, vivo is urging Indian consumers to join the movement, turn off their digital screens and spend quality time with their family and loved ones. 

To sensitise more people towards meaningful use of technology, vivo has roped in Catherine Price, a renowned health and science writer, author of the book ‘How to Break Up with your Phone – The 30 Day Plan to Take Back Your Life’ and founder of ‘Screen/life Balance’, a resource hub that helps people jumpstart a healthier relationship with their smartphone.   Catherine will advise vivo about curating solutions to help people inculcate productive habits to ensure meaningful use of smartphone.  

Underlining the significance of the Switch Off Campaign, Geetaj Channana, Head of Corporate Strategy, vivo India, said, “At vivo, we champion the responsible use of technology, emphasizing the importance of meaningful moments with our loved ones. The insights from the vivo Switch Off study have illuminated the challenges many individuals face in their relationships with smartphones. Through Switch Off Campaign, now in its fifth edition, our aim is to empower people to regain control over their time and attention, facilitating a reconnection with and prioritization of their loved ones.

Switch Off 2023 goes beyond the report as a commitment, urging everyone to participate in Switch Off Day on December 20th. Furthermore, to provide people definitive solutions to deal with these issues, we are offering a personalized plan (in association with our smartphone relationship advisor, Catherine Price) on vivo India Newsroom to help users strike a balance between relationships and digital exposure. I warmly invite all of India to join this initiative, fostering a collective movement to enhance our genuine relationship.”

Finding of the survey:  

Smartphone is an enabler in our daily lives – Usage pattern among parents and children 

 Smartphones play a crucial role as indispensable tools for both acquiring information and fostering social connections among parents. A substantial 70% of parents acknowledge the significant contribution of smartphones in enhancing their knowledge about the world. Similarly, over 60% of parents consider smartphones to be invaluable for connecting with family and friends, while almost 60% appreciate the convenience they bring to shopping.

When it comes to children, the sentiment regarding smartphones as facilitators of knowledge remains consistent. Nearly 60% of children agree that smartphones are instrumental in acquiring information about the world. Furthermore, 58% of them assert that smartphones make it easy to connect with friends and loved ones who live afar, underscoring the smartphone’s pivotal role in their daily lives.

Impact of excessive smartphones on children’s mental health  

The study reveals alarming patterns in children’s smartphone usage, shedding light on pivotal aspects of their relationship with these devices. On average, children initiate smartphone usage at the age of 12, spending approximately 6.5 hours daily, with a predominant focus on gaming. Disturbingly, 91% acknowledge experiencing anxiety when distanced from their phones, signifying a profound emotional reliance. An overwhelming nearly 90% are predominantly engrossed in smartphone activities at home, demonstrating an excessive dependency. These findings indicate that the major portion of time children spend at home, they are on their smartphones underscores the profound impact and heightened addiction of children, giving rise to significant concerns regarding their psychological and social well-being in the digital age.

Parents concern over children’s smartphone usage pattern 

The study reveals that parents are deeply concerned about their children’s excessive smartphone usage patterns. Worries extend to their children’s mental well-being, social skills, and overall holistic development.

An overwhelming 94% of parents express deep concerns about their children’s mental health, with 91% emphasizing the urgent need to impose restrictions on smartphone access. The apprehensions regarding the impact on social skills and overall development are also widespread, as 91% of parents worry that excessive smartphone use might negatively affect their children’s social skills.” 

Excessive use of smartphones hampering parent-child relationship:  

The study highlights a significant challenge in parent-child relationships due to excessive smartphone use. A notable 90% of parents express occasional irritation when interrupted by their children while engrossed in smartphone activities. Another 90% admit to spending less quality time with their children, potentially straining familial bonds. A worrying 91% children admit they feel lonelier than ever because of their parents’ smartphone usage. Despite spending nearly two hours daily with their children, a concerning 75% of parents admit to simultaneous phone engagement, raising questions about the quality of these interactions. 

Silver lining

The study reveals that 93% of parents and children share feelings of guilt about the quality of their relationships. Notably, 94% of parents collectively prioritize meaningful in-person interactions over smartphone scrolling during leisure time. Furthermore, an encouraging 96% of parents and 93% of children express a strong mutual desire to deepen family connections. These statistics signal a powerful and optimistic consensus, highlighting a committed effort to nurture stronger, more profound bonds in today’s technology-driven world. 

 Some of the other key findings of the study are as below:  

  • Interestingly parents spend 7.7 hours per day with their smartphones that is 1.2 hours more than that of children.  
  • 87% and 73% parents agree that the phone is the first and last thing they see after getting up in morning and before hitting the bed. Among children, these figures slightly decrease to 83% and 69%, respectively. 
  • On average, children and parents spend approximately two hours together, but about 75% of them confess to using their phones during this shared time. 
  • 93% parents and children feel guilty about the quality of relationships with each other. 
  • 91% children feel lonelier than ever before because of their parent’s smartphone usage. 
  • 90% children feel lonely even though they have a lot of friends on social media. 

About the study  The fifth edition of the study titled ‘Impact of Smartphones on Parent-child Relationships’ is based on a study commissioned by vivo India. The study was executed by CyberMedia Research (CMR), India’s trusted market research and advisory firm, covering more than 1500 respondents, across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Pune.