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Parents Are Giving Kids Money To Stay Off Their Screens — But Does it Work?

Getting kids off screens is an ongoing struggle with parents. And while there are lots of reasons to limit screen time, it might be hard to convince your child of the long-term benefits. So what if you could provide a more compelling motivation — in the form of cold, hard cash?

According to a study by Halifax, one in four parents surveyed admit using an allowance as a way to keep their kids off laptops, phones, and tablets. More children are still getting allowance through traditional means, however, with 60% of parents saying their children have to do chores to receive an allowance. While there isn’t any studies on the effectiveness of no-screen bribery, some financial experts actually recommend steering away from allowances that require tasks to be completed. The thinking is that, if your child truly hates making the bed, they may choose to forgo bed-making (or dishwasher duty, or laundry) in lieu of cash. Think of it as a kid’s version of an unpaid vacation. Similarly, a child could, in theory, decide that Tik Tok or Candy Crush is better than some pocket money and opt to keep playing.

However, it might not be as simple as all that: another study from Airtasker actually found that kids who do chores in return for allowance are more financially literate as adults. The study’s conclusion is that it’s because children benefit from tying money closely to labor. It may be harder to see a direct correlation between shutting down a laptop and getting $5, however. Of course, there’s knowing that in your head — and there’s really, truly just wanting a break from endless episodes of Paw Patrol. Perhaps if the result is a book being read that might not have been otherwise, the extra few bucks won’t feel like a big deal.

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