Parents used to be the ones telling their children to put down their phones and pay attention. But now children are asking mum and dad to ditch their gadgets and spend more time with them.

Youngsters are fed up with their parents being digital hypocrites when it comes to their smartphones and the internet, a study has found.

One bugbear is when parents answer work emails at the dinner table while telling them they can't play games on their phones. Children also think parents are setting a bad example by texting while driving, but telling them never to do so.

The study called on parents to practise what they preach and set digital limits that the whole family can stick to. Lead researcher Alexis Hiniker, a doctoral student in human design at the University of Washington in Seattle, said parents had to stick to the rules.


She said: 'Managing kids' technology use was once much easier for parents - they switched off the television when a show was over or kept an eye on kids as they used the family computer in the living room.

'But now so many family members have phones with them at all times, it's become harder and harder to set those boundaries.' The study involved interviews with 249 families with children aged between ten and 17 about their digital life. Many children wanted their parents to be present more of the time - and a total break from technology at some point in the day.

Children wanted parents to let them make their own decisions about when and where they used social media and smartphones, and not dictate to them.

They also wanted their parents to moderate their use of technology and do more real-world activities with them.

Miss Hiniker added: 'We were surprised to find that when mum and dad say: "You can't be on Instagram" it's easier for kids to accept and stick to that rule than when they say: "You can be on Instagram but you have to put it away at dinner".'

- Daily Mail