CHILDREN will insist they have ‘nothing to do’ just five days into the school summer holiday – despite parents spending more than £1,300 on activities to keep them entertained.
A study of 1,000 parents of children aged 4-16 found 54 per cent feel anxious about the long school holiday due to worries about how they are going to keep their offspring occupied.
And despite enjoying three different day trips and five separate activities a week, children will still claim they are bored four times a day – 168 times over the average six-week summer break.
One in twenty parents even claimed their children are already fed up by the first day of the holiday.
Day trips (57 per cent) were found to be the top way parents plan to keep their children entertained, followed by walks (56 per cent) and going to the park (50 per cent), while another third (33 per cent) will keep their kids entertained with books.
But the study also found many will rely on tech to keep their children busy, as 49 per cent admit their youngsters are likely to spend more time online or watching TV than they do during term time.
As a result, 31 per cent are worried how much time their youngsters will spend online during the summer holiday.
Vodafone commissioned the research as it announced in partnership with Andersen Press, it will be offering free digital copies of author Jeanne Willis and illustrator Tony Ross’ Internet Safety picture books for children.
Helen Lamprell, general counsel and external affairs director at Vodafone UK said: “The long school break is often a highlight of the year for many children, but for parents it can be an anxious and busy time.
“Just keeping the kids occupied throughout the summer can feel like a full-time job itself – especially after the lockdowns and school closures of the last 18 months.
“It’s natural with the technology children now have available to them that they will use them to fill their time over the long break from school.
“But with this increased screen time, it’s important for parents to understand how to educate their children on online safety and things to look out for when using the internet.”
The study also found that children will spend an estimated three-and-a-half hours online via phones, games consoles and computers on an average day during the school holidays.
But one in four (23 per cent) parents are too busy to keep a constant watch on what their offspring are doing online – with half of the time the average child spends online going unsupervised.
This is leaving parents worried about keeping their children safe, with 18 per cent concerned about online bullying over the holidays.
However, 57 per cent are unaware how to monitor their children’s online activity, while 18 per cent aren’t confident they could teach them about online safety.
And 56 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, don’t know how to block certain sites from being accessed.
Worryingly, 14 per cent also are concerned their son or daughter doesn’t know the risks of using the internet – despite 16 per cent believing this should be taught as young as five years old.
To help parents keep their children occupied over the summer and educate them on the importance of online safety, Vodafone is offering 10,000 free digital copies of Chicken Clicking, Troll Stinks and Old Macdonald Had a Phone, written by author Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross.
Helen Lamprell added: “By offering 10,000 free digital copies of children’s books that span topics such as trolling online and screen time in an accessible way, we hope to help parents not only entertain their kids but teach them how to use the internet responsibly.”
Emma Robertson, Co-Founder of Digital Awareness UK, added: “We tend to see a spike in issues such as online bullying, sexting or exposure to inappropriate content during the summer holidays as children spend more time using devices.
“While screen time can be a worry for parents, it's important to remember that technology has been a lifeline for many young people during this pandemic, and not all screen time is bad - many of our young people will use devices during the summer holidays to continue learning and socialising and creating.
“Ensuring that the conversations we have with our children about technology are balanced, as well as the amount of time we spend on and off screens is key.”
Top ways parents can keep kids entertained during the summer holidays
Going to the park
Family get togethers
Arts and crafts
Playdates and sleepovers
Let them spend more time than usual on their games consoles/computer
Plus Sue Radford's top tips on keeping children entertained on a budget for the summer holidays.
And how to keep you and the kids busy if you and your family have been pinged by Track and Trace.
Meanwhile this busy mum-of-six shiws the massive laundry pile she is left with EVERY day.
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