According to the World Happiness Report of 2018, the happiest place on Earth is Finland. A second survey found that the town of Kauniainen was the happiest in Finland, effectively making it the happiest place on Earth.
Despite this, parents are increasingly aware of their own use of the smartphones: roughly 50% of parents in Kauniainen admit to using the smartphone or tablet too much and two-thirds claim it causes conflicts in the family. These figures are the result of IRO Reseach's mission to dig deeper into the screen habits of the people of Kauniainen, IRO Research conducted a survey in the town.
Of the children who participated in the surey, 82% own a tablet and 26% own a gaming console (Playstation, Xbox, etc.). Children growing up todayare surrounded by smartphones and screen time in many forms and while it for them appears a fun pasttime, parents are viewing limiting screen time as an important subject.
Parents feel that experience from the real world is more useful to the children than virtual experience.
The conclusions from the Kauniainen survey is backed up by the results from previous surveys, says Sylva Vahtera, Research Director with IRO Research.
In the survey,
- 66% of families limit their child's daily smartphone/tablet screen time to fewer than two hours.
- 33% of the children spend less than one hour per day with screens, although the gap is wide: 1/10 children spend five hours or more in front of a screen.
- 86% of parents said their child's screen time causes conflicts in the family.
- 43% of families say they experience weekly conflicts. 7% say they have daily conflicts. Screen usage is viewed as a major distraction in quality time spent with the family.
- Parents reported that their own use of smartphones cause conflicts in the family: 64% say conflicts occur now and then and 8% say conflicts often occur. Meanwhile, 82% say they think children are given their parents' old phones.
Children choose smartphones/tablets over outdoors
Only half of the children in the survey actively play with their friends more than five hours per week.
However, outdoor activities make up a major part of the family activities:
- 89% of parents regularly take their children outside.
- 97% of families read together, 85% play board games together and 80% watch television together.
- Only 11% play videogames together.
While the parents wish their children were more active, the children are more interested in what happens on the screens. In a normal day life with a busy schedule, conflicts regarding screen time is inevitable when parents and children are of a different opinion when it comes to screen time. One idea is to review a rational use of smartphones/tablets together as a family. It's easier for the entire family to follow rules that have been made in unison, says one of the researchers in the survey.
The survey provides important society metrics
Christoffer Masar, mayor of Kauniainen, views the study as an interesting opportunity for his town's inhabitants to partake in relevant research.
"For us as a town, the inhabitants' wellbeing is the most important. We wish that Kauniainen shall continue to be the world's happiest town. The effect of smarthpone use on children's wellbeing and activity is a major subject where research data is very useful", says Masar.
As part of the study, every sixyearold in the town will receive an XPLORA smartwatch - phones designed for children. Timo Vaskio, CEO of Xplora Mobile Oy, acknowledges the challenges posed to parents.
"More and more children move around too inactive and are addicted to smartphones/tablets. At XPLORA, we have made an alternative that lets the children communicate without limitating their physical activity. The main goal of the research conducted in Kauniainen is to gather research data that can help us create a safer path for children living in a digital world", he says.
Juuso Laamanen, director of floorball with research partner Grankulla sports club, has already observed a change in their members' activity levels.
"Before, the youngest enthusiasts arrived to practice sessions and spent too much time on their smartphones. With their XPLORA smartwatches, their hands are now free and the step counter in their new smartwatches encourages them to move around more and is definitely a motivational factor in regards of sports. We joined the survey because we want to support our children in becoming more physically active. It pleases me greatly that we have succeeded in this," says Laamanen.
The survey was conducted by IRO Research between November 2019 and January 2020. The margin of error is 3.2 percentage points. To thirds of all Kauniainen's kindergartens, including the children's parents, were involved in the survey.
Do you want to know more or purchase an XPLORA for your child? Click here! We now also feature the XPLORA Activity Band, which is better suited for teens and adults.
Sylva Vahtera, IRO Research Oy: 0400 964 439
Timo Vaskio, Xplora Mobile Oy: +35 840 517 0727