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The average teenager spends nearly two hours a day on social networking sites whilst on the annual family holiday, a study has revealed. Researchers found that a third of parents claim their kids barely look up from their iPhone or Blackberry and are more concerned about keeping in touch with mates back home than spending time with the family.
Parents also raised issues about their temperamental teens tweeting, downloading music and watching movies whilst on the family holiday.
In fact, half of the 2000 parents of teenagers polled said they despair of their kids being constantly glued to gadgets.
And 20% of parents claim to have urged their adolescents to get more involved with activities.
But a more understanding 34% of parents said they could understand that teenagers got bored on holidays, the poll found.
A quarter said you couldn’t blame them for resorting to gadgets if the family was constantly sightseeing historical sites or constantly sunbathing.
The poll found that the most popular experience that children look for on a holiday is visiting a waterpark, and this is the best way to drive them away from technology.
A spokesperson for Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai, who conducted the poll, said:
“We are a family destination resort and are always intrigued to know what interests our guests of all ages, in order to help us further develop our offering and facilities.
“’The poll found many teenagers were occupied by their gadgets, but in your teenage years you are keen to keep in touch with friends and social media makes that easier than ever – but you can understand parents’ frustration.
“Parents have a hard job at keeping children entertained on holiday, especially if your children are different ages and interested in different things.
“It can be a juggling act to keep everyone happy, but holidays shouldn’t be like that – it’s important to choose a location that suits everyone whether they are toddlers, teenagers or middle-aged.”
The poll found that on a typical 10-day holiday, teenagers would be glued to smart phones, laptops or tablets for nearly 20 hours, with Facebook and texting among the most popular activities.
One in ten like to upload holiday pictures to Instagram, and 40% are hooked on online games.
With all the distractions, a third said they were reluctant to make friends when on foreign soil.
Half of the parents polled said their kids will appreciate the effort that goes in to planning a family holiday when they are older.
Although mobile phones and laptops hadn’t made an appearance back then – six in ten parents said they were similar when they were young, and usually had their heads buried in books or were plugged in to a personal stereo.
A spokesman for Atlantis, The Palm added:
“This research shows that parents look for holiday destinations where the entire family can find entertainment for everyone to enjoy.
“Kids aged 13-18 can be hard to cater for on family holidays – they want to be independent and treated like young adults.
“Our resort caters for all ages, and we have learnt from this research that kids need to be stimulated with exciting activities in order for them to enjoy spending time with the family.”