Children now worry more about their parents spending too much time on their mobiles or computers than parents worry about their children
It has become as much a part of modern parenting as getting the children to tidy their room or eat their greens.
But those who order their offspring to switch off televisions, computers or mobile phones because they fear they are becoming addicted might need to take a long hard look at their own screen habits, new research shows.
Almost 70 per cent of children think their parents spent too much time on their mobile phone, iPad or other similar devices, a poll of families found.
More than a third of children worry that their parents struggle to switch off from technology and a quarter of children polled openly accuse them of double standards when it comes to excessive use of mobile devices, televisions and computers.
One in five British children say their parents do not listen to them properly when they are together because they are so busy checking their emails or picking up work messages.
The polling was carried out by Opinion Matters a research agency for the New Forest National Park Authority.
The authority has recently begun providing facilities for visitors to hand in mobile phones, tablets and other devices amid fears that technology is invading family life and making it impossible for people to appreciate nature properly because they never switch off.
Dr Richard Graham, a consultant adolescent psychiatrist and expert in technology addiction at Capio Nightingale Hospital in London said there is growing evidence that children are finding their parents’ preoccupation with communications technology increasingly distressing.
“This is a phenomenon that we are all struggling with, be it young or old,” he said.
“One of the things about the New Forest National Park Authority scheme is that, rather like quiet carriages on trains, we are as a culture going to try to establish opportunities to reconnect and do the things which we know from research improves our well-being and health.”
Four in 10 of the children polled admitted that they sometimes communicate with their parents by text, email or social media even they are in the next room.
The poll found that six in 10 parents worry their children are spending too much time glued to small screens at home but almost seven in 10 children have the same fear for their parents.
Overall 37 per cent of children said they and their parents often spend entire evenings attached to their mobile phones rather than talking.
Pointedly, almost one in 10 of the children polled said they wished their parents would call them from work as often as they call work from home.
It follows a warning from a leading psychologist that parents who constantly fiddle with mobile phones or iPads in front of their children are guilty of “benign neglect”.