PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– Connected devices are too often on the dinner menu and are a common distraction at bedtime. That’s one takeaway from a study by an internet service provider that looks to help you switch offline.
Nearly all of the 1,000 parents surveyed tell Comcast “disconnecting from those devices during mealtime can improve family bonding,” says Patti Loyak, vice president of IP services for the Philadelphia-based media giant. “But device-free meals are rare now,” with Wi-Fi blanketing the home.
You don’t want your kid to have a fork in one hand and a phone or tablet in another. But they want your attention at the table, too.
“More than half the parents have been told by their children to put their device away during meals,” Loyak says.
The study, conducted by Wakefield Research, found 14 percent of people even disconnect their modems to force Internet downtime.
With Comcast’s Wi-Fi platform, which it calls Xfinity xFi, you don’t have to go that extreme.
“The ‘time to pause’ feature allows our customers to pause the child’s device for 30 minutes, an hour, two hours, or indefinitely until they come back in and unpause,” Loyak explains.
She says it’s the platform’s most popular feature, with five million “pauses” since it was launched in May, and used most often between 6-9 p.m.
Not a Comcast customer? The study found some parents make kids charge their phones in the kitchen or other non-bedroom and leave them there before they go to sleep. (That might make for better Zs for the rest of us, too.) Most cell providers allow customers to limit wireless access through apps or web portals — without needing access to a child’s device.