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Children and Screen Time...the Latest Findings

Pew Research recently released the latest information about children and screen time.

Parenting today's technology-advanced kids. 2/3 of parents say parenting today is harder than it was 20 years ago. Many say technologies like social media and smartphones are a big reason why. "Parents don't know how to handle the technology." Man - age 49 "Technology has taught kids instant gratification and no patience."

Man - age 50 "We have so much technology today that was not available 20 years ago. Social media, reality TV sows, video games have really changed our society and how we interact with each others." Woman - age 47 "There's too much technology. Kids are addicted. They don't go outside, they don't hang out with friends, they are getting overweight due to lack of exercise and poor diet." Man - age 45 “I think that social media is harmful to kids and their self-concepts and self-images. It’s difficult to combat the messages that [they] are getting ALL THE TIME from the outside world. Being a teen is more difficult than it was even 10 years ago, and much more difficult than it was 30 years ago. Parenting through all of the obstacles is really challenging.” Woman - age 51

‘Sharenting’: Most parents who use social media have posted things about their kids on social media; 76% say being able to easily share information with family and friends is a major reason why they post. Smartphones. Just over half of parents – 54% – say younger kids’ engagement with these devices will hurt their ability to do well in school. Parents are also concerned about the long-term effects of smartphones on children's development. 71% believe that using a smartphone could result in more harm than benefits.

These concerns are arising at a time when it is common for children of all ages to engage with digital devices.

  • 80% of parents say their child age 5 to 11 uses and interacts with a tablet computer.

  • 63% say their child interacts with a smartphone.

Digital Assistants

  • 36% of parents say their child uses or interacts with a voice-activated assistant like Siri or Alexa.

  • 82% of parents say their child uses a voice-activated assistant to play music.

  • 66% use it to get information.

  • 47% to hear jokes.

  • 30% to play games.

YouTube is a key platform for younger and older kids. YouTube says over 1 billion hours of videos are watched on the site every day.

The platform has over 2 billion users. 80% of parents say their children (ages 11 and younger) watch videos on YouTube.

46% of parents say their child has encountered inappropriate videos on YouTube.

79% are very or somewhat concerned about their child encountering inappropriate content on YouTube.

Protecting their children. 90% of parents say they have a lot of responsibility in protecting children from inappropriate content. A big part of this research was to find out parents' views about the amount of time their child spends on technology-based products.

  • 62% say their child spends the right amount of time on their device.

  • 25% of parents whose child plays video games says their child spends too much time doing this.

  • 24% say their child spends too much time on a smartphone.

  • 20% of parents whose child is on social media, says they spend too much time on this activity.

Monitoring screen time.

  • The majority of parents (70%) are very confident they know what their child posts on social media.

  • 67% know what their child watches on television.

  • 67% know what video games their child plays.

  • 57% know what websites their child visits.

  • 51% know what online videos their child is watching.


86% of parents limit when and how long their child can use screens.

80% also "ground" their child's activity online when needed.

When devices are used.

84% of parents say it's okay to use devices while riding in the car. 37% of parents say it's okay to use devices before bedtime.

29% when dining out at a restaurant. 13% while dining at home.

Online Dangers. 63% of parents say they are concerned about their child being the target of online predators.

60% are concerned about their child accessing sexually explicit content. 59% are concerned their child might access violent content. 56% are concerned their child could be bullied online. Many parents also struggle with keeping a balance with technology. More than half of parents who have at least one child under the age of 18 (but who may also have adult children) say they spend too much time on their smartphone (56%), with smaller shares saying this about the amount of time they spend on social media (36%) or playing video games (11%).

Mothers (61%) are more likely than fathers (49%) to say they spend too much time on their smartphone.

Sharenting (sharing pictures of your children online) is a way today's parents can easily share information with family and friends. 76% of parents say they do this. There is a small percentage of parents who do not share pictures of their children online. Here's why they say they don't do this...

76% don't want other people to have their information.

71% don't want companies collecting data on them or their children.

55% are just not interested.

29% don't want to be judged. Advice. Here's where young parents go for advice...

66% go to doctors and other medical professionals

61% ask other parents

45% go to teachers

40% go to parenting sites

38% go to books or magazines

29% go to social media

19% go to online parenting boards I trust seeing this data will help you minister to parents and their children more effectively. Technology is a major factor in parenting today. What a great opportunity we have to come alongside parents and encourage and equip them to navigate raising children in today's world.


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