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Parents fearing 'gadgets takeover'

Parents fear they are being replaced by gadgets in their children's lives, new research has found.

Almost half (46%) of the parents taking part in the study said communication with their children has been affected by technology.

A third (34%) admitted they had to compete with games consoles and online social networking for their children's attention.

And over a quarter (28%) feel redundant and hurt by the lack of involvement in their child's life.

Evaluating the findings, psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos said families should "spend time together doing face-to-face activities".

She said: "Just an hour a day interacting as a family can boost confidence and improve verbal communication.

"Because this level of technology was not present when we were growing up, it's important to use it in a way that enriches our family life as opposed to using it to the detriment of other ways of communicating with each other."

The research was carried out nationwide and 1,000 parents and 1,000 children were involved.

Energy company npower commissioned it in support of its No Power Hour campaign, a UK-wide roadshow hosted by ex-England manager Kevin Keegan. No Power Hour will see Keegan encourage families to save energy by spending more time together in the open air.

The study also found that half of all children (51%) spend up to five hours a day glued to a screen and more than a quarter (27%) prefer to communicate digitally rather than face to face, while one in four prefer playing on an X-Box console to spending time with their family.

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