File photo: More than a third of the 2 000 children surveyed said they had asked their parents to stop looking at their devices. Picture: AP

London - One in three children have had to ask their parents to stop constantly checking their mobile phones.

A poll revealed that a third of youngsters thought their parents were bad role models who kept looking at phones and tablets – even if their children asked them not to.

Experts say they are "shocked" by the poll, commissioned by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), which represents leading private schools.

More than a third of the 2 000 children surveyed said they had asked their parents to stop looking at their devices – and 46 percent of those that did said it made no difference.

Around one in five said the use of mobile devices stopped their families from enjoying each other’s company, and 82 percent said they should be banned at dinner.

Only 10 percent of the 3 000 parents polled thought the time they spent on smartphones and tablets concerned their children – but 43 percent admitted they thought they spent too much time online.

The survey found half of pupils worried about not getting enough sleep because they struggled to put their own phones away. Many admitted they would not mind stricter rules and wanted their parents to be better role models.

Some schools are already holding workshops for parents, the Sunday Times reported, after it emerged that around 90 percent of pupils spend between ten and 15 hours a day online. The HMC – which represents elite schools including Eton – will reveal guidelines for families at its spring conference this week.

Mike Buchanan, chairman of HMC and head of Ashford School, said: "Our poll shows that children are aware of many of the risks associated with overuse of technology but they need the adults in their lives to set clear boundaries."

Emma Robertson, co-founder of Digital Awareness UK, said the results were shocking.

She said: "We hope these findings will be a wake-up call for families and motivate them to have serious conversations about the safe and healthy use of technology."

Daily Mail