AMSTERDAM: More than half of children say their parents spend too much time checking their mobile phones and around one third can feel unimportant as a result according to a new study.

AVG Technologies, an online security business, surveyed a total of 6,117 parents and children (aged 8-13) across nine markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the US – and found that mobile phones were winning the battle for parental attention.

Some 54% of children felt their parents checked their devices too often. And their biggest grievance, when given a list of possible bad device habits, was that their parents allowed themselves to be distracted by their device during conversations (36%), something that made a third (32%) of the complainants feel unimportant.

On the other side of the fence, just over half (52%) of parents were conscious that they were checking their devices too often and around one quarter (28%) worried they were setting a bad example to their offspring.

"With our kids picking up mobile devices at an increasingly younger age, it is really important that we set good habits within the home, early on," said Tony Anscombe, senior security evangelist at AVG Technologies.

"It can be hard to step away from your device at home," he acknowledged, "but with a quarter of parents telling us that they wished their child used their device less, they need to lead by example and consider how their behaviour might be making their child feel."

Across the countries surveyed, Brazilian parents emerged as having the most problematic relationships: 87% of children there said their parents used mobile devices too much and 56% would confiscate a parent's device if they could.

Data sourced from AVG Technologies; additional content by Warc staff