Children find social networking more important than family

Many of the children in the UK found technology and social notwoking more important than other aspects of life, including their family, according to a new survey.

The survey, carried out for National Family Week, showed that 27.5 percent of children picked “Facebook/Twitter/MSN” when asked “What is the most important thing to you?” Family still won overall with 60.4 percent, but even mobile phones were considered one of the most important things to 8.2 percent of those asked. 1.8 percent picked “other”, with the top answer there being an iPod. So much for old mum and dad.

Social notworking was a more popular answer for girls than boys, with 40 percent of girls choosing it compared to only six percent of boys.

When asked what they thought was most important to their parents, 77.7 percent picked family. However, 1.7 percent picked mobile phone.

Nearly half of the children asked felt that their parents and friends had the most influence on them, but 32.1 percent believed technology like mobile phones and videogames had the most influence, with a further 10.9 percent picking media like TV and radio. The internet featured in the “other” category, as did “MYSELF i prefer to be as unique as possible”. Over 20 percent of parents believed technology had the most influence on their children.

Only 55 percent of children thought they spent enough time with both their parents. 21 percent believed they spent enough time with their mother, compared to only 2.5 percent with their father. 21 percent felt they didn’t spent enough time with their parents at all.

When asked who they wished they could spend more time with 35 percent chose their father, compared to only 8.2 percent for their mother, reinforcing the common belief that mothers are usually closer to their children than fathers are. 19.3 percent wished they could be closer to both parents.

When asked how much time their family spends togethe each week 39 percent picked between two and four hours, compared to the next highest 16.9 percent of four to six hours. The average worked out at just under five hours a week, which seems rather paltry for family time.

55.2 percent of children believed marriage was important, compared to 23.5 percent who thought it was not. 21.3 percent were undecided.

When asked what they would like to do more of as a family, over half picked going out together. 33.3 percent, however, picked watching television. 1.2 percent picked “other”, with the most humorous answers given being: “Nothing my family is purrrfect!!!”, “visit my cousin and i want to start archery”, and “spending time”.

Over half of the children asked believed the most important things a parent could do for their children were to be a good role model and teach them things. Over a quarter chose being a friend and helping with homework.

When asked to choose one thing that would make the UK better for families, 28.4 percent thought schools needed to be improved, while 27.4 percent thought families needed more money, which is perhaps a sign of these recessionary times. The next highest was 18.5 percent who thought it should be made safer. Over 4 percent picked “other”, with a large number of hilarious answers, including: “kill all of the bad people”, “1000 pounds every year”, and “make sure all schools are banned”.

Parents were asked what the biggest obstacle to families were, with 7.4 percent choosing technology. 36.2 percent picked money and 31.9 percent picked limited time. Some parents put down “love” as the biggest obstacle, which we hope was a misinterpretation of the question.

National Family Week is all about promoting family time. The week will feature nearly 3,000 events throughout the UK and runs from the 31st of May to the 6th of June.