Recently I sent out a survey to a number of parents on various Facebook groups. The purpose of this survey was to find answers to the following questions:
- How concerned are parents currently with their children’s use of technology?
- What aspects of technology are they finding most challenging?
- What are parents most concerned about in future in terms of their children’s online activities?
- What sort of information would be most helpful in addressing these issues?
- How should these issues be addressed?
I’d like to thank those wonderful parents who responded to this survey, and to share the results with you. The input received is very valuable and this, along with additional comments that came out of more detailed one-to-one interviews, is helping me provide an invaluable solution for parents. Following are the results of the survey.
How Concerned Are Parents Currently With Their Children’s Use Of Technology?
Of the parents surveyed, 63.64% were at least moderately concerned about the way their children were currently using technology. This included aspects such as having difficulty getting kids off their games and devices, accessing inappropriate content online, social media and cyber-bullying.
There were 22.73% of parents either “quite a lot” or “massively” concerned about the various issues.
Only 4.55% of parents were “not at all” concerned currently. The oldest child for parents with this response was a 9-year-old girl. Not surprisingly, those with children 10 years and older were more concerned right now by technology-related issues.
What Aspects Of Technology Are Parents Currently Finding Most Challenging?
Unfortunately from this graph the complete descriptions of each category have been cut off, so I’ll walk you through them now. What can be seen from these children and technology stats is that currently, the most challenging aspect for the parents surveyed is controlling what their children see online, at 46.67%.
Next highest at 40% of respondents were two answers: managing the amount of time spent on screens, along with knowing what their children are doing online.
Following these issues, the next common technology concerns currently affecting 35.56% of respondents are their children’s addiction to games and technology, and protecting children from online predators.
Close behind and affecting 33.33% of parents surveyed is knowing whether to monitor their children’s technology usage, and if so how much and how.
Next at 31.11% of respondents comes the challenge of getting their children off their devices peacefully, without tantrums.
The remaining potential issues were currently affecting less than 30% of respondents, and this is most likely due to the ages of the children. These issues are likely to be more of a concern with older children (ie teenagers at high school) and included:
- Managing privacy online (26.67%)
- Children struggling with social skills in favour of technology (22.22%)
- Social media issues like over-sharing and being socially responsible (20%), and
- Cyber-bullying (13.33%)
It’s also relevant to note here that two thirds of parents surveyed were aged between 35 and 44 years, and their children ranged from 0 to 17 years. Obviously very different concerns arise at different ages.
What Are Parents Most Concerned About In Future?
In terms of technology usage, it is clear that while several of the categories covered above were not seen as a huge concern currently, according to these children and technology stats parents are very concerned about technology as their children grow older. Lets go through the following results.
A massive two-thirds of parents surveyed (66.67%) are most concerned with their children using social media. What’s the main reason for the huge jump between current and future concern with social media? Most parents have not yet allowed their children to use it at all, in fear of the very real dangers and challenges it brings.
Not surprisingly, right behind social media as a major future concern for 64.44% of parents surveyed comes content their children might find online, as well as online predators. Both of these issues are followed very closely by cyber-bullying, which poses a real concern for 62.22% of respondents.
Still of high future concern for 55.56% of parents is managing the amount of time their children spend on screens. This becomes more challenging in high school when children are required to use the internet or at least a computer, laptop or i-pad for their homework.
Children maintaining privacy online is concerning to 53.33% of parents, with more and more sites asking for personal details.
More than half of the parents surveyed (51.11%) are also most concerned about how or whether to monitor usage in the teenage years, along with their children becoming addicted to their phones and other devices.
Of all the potential issues relating to children and technology use, only two were of a high level of concern to less than half of the parents surveyed. Lack of social skills in face-to-face situations is concerning 40% of respondents, and finally health issues such as too much time being sedentary indoors and weight gain are future concerns to 17.78% of parents.
There was not a single parent who was not concerned in any way about the effect of technology on their children in future.
What Information Would Be Most Helpful?
It was great to get some insight into what sort of information parents would find most helpful in addressing the issues raised by technology for our children. Here are the visual results.
The two most helpful types of information that 64.44% of respondents would appreciate learning more about are based around cyber-bullying and online content. With the former, it’s about how to know if their child is a victim of cyber-bullying, and what to do about it if they are. With the latter, parents want to know what kinds of online games and sites are OK, and which ones to avoid.
Once again social media scored highly here with 55.56% of parents wanting to know how to communicate with their children in relation to social media usage.
There were 48.89% of parents keen to see a demonstration of how to block inappropriate content.
For 37.78% of respondents it would be most helpful to learn how to best manage the amount of time their children spend online.
Just under a third of parents (31.11%) would like to know how to deal with internet addiction, and similar to this about a quarter of them (24.44%) would like helpful tips to remove their children peacefully from their devices without tantrums.
Only 13.33% of respondents would find ideas for alternative activities for children (not involving technology) helpful.
How To Address The Issues
I believe that since I sent out this survey to people in various Facebook groups, this has greatly affected the results from this question! Nevertheless here is what came out of the survey in terms of what format to use to address the issues.
A whopping 62.22% of respondents would like these issues to be addressed through Facebook, again perhaps a slightly exaggerated view based on how the survey was sent. I believe if I’d emailed the survey this result may have been different. However it’s clear that Facebook does provide a great platform for people to get answers to their questions.
The other most helpful formats for providing help were on a website (46.67%), in a monthly newsletter (37.78%), on webinars (31.11%) and through a face-to-face presentation (one-off or ongoing, 22.22%). Books were the least preferred methods of communication, presumably because they are one-sided and don’t give the reader an opportunity to ask specific questions.
For those not aware, a webinar is where you go online and someone talks to you and shares their screen to present information. You can type in questions and comments that the presenter can see live and then can answer on the spot. The beauty of a webinar is that you don’t have to leave home, you just need to be sitting in front of your PC/laptop/i-pad. If you miss the live webinar you can usually watch a replay.
Children and Technology Stats – In Conclusion
As I suspected prior to sending out this survey, I am not the only parent with young children who is concerned about the effects of technology! The issues raised by technology are only growing and will continue to do so in the coming years. It seems like there are new challenges coming up all the time, and keeping up with them is almost impossible.
Gaining a deeper understanding of what parents are most concerned about is enabling me to create a helpful solution that will be highly valuable to thousands of parents. This is a subject I am most passionate about, and as such I am excited to be able to offer much-needed help to parents. Watch this space – I’ll keep you posted on further developments.