Parenting In The Pew – Politics and Policy International Affairs
The Pew Research Center has long studied the changing nature of parenting and family dynamics and digital technology. The report focuses on how children engage with digital technology, screens and social media, as well as parents’ attitudes towards these behaviours, their children’s use of technology and their parents’ assessment of their experiences with digital technology. The results are based on a survey conducted March 2-15 of 3,640 American parents who have at least one child under the age of 17. It also includes participants as members of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel recruited through national random sampling of residential addresses, and respondents to the Ipsos Knowledge Panel. The margin of sampling error for the entire sample is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points
Parenting In The Pew
Recruiting ATP panelists by phone or mail ensures that nearly every American adult has the opportunity to be selected. This gives us confidence that any sample can represent the entire adult population of the United States (see our Methods 101 explanation on random sampling). To further ensure that each ATP survey reflects a balanced cross-section of the country, the data is weighted to match the U.S. adult population by gender, race, color, party affiliation, education and other categories.
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For more, see Methods of reporting on projects In this review you can also find frequently asked questions and answers given by the public
Parenting has never been easier But the widespread adoption of smartphones and the rise of social media have added a new wrinkle to parenting challenges. In fact, a majority of U.S. parents (66%)—including those with at least one child under the age of 18, but also those with one or more older children—say parenting is more difficult today than it was 20 years ago; According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March, technology is cited as the reason by many in this group.
One of the most discussed and debated topics among parents today is screen time How much more? And what effect do screens have on children’s development? Amid these growing questions, the World Health Organization last year issued guidelines on how much time young children should spend in front of screens.
Parents of young children themselves make it clear that they are concerned about the effects of screen time A full 71% of parents of children under 12 say they are at least a little concerned that their child may be spending too much time in front of a screen, with 31% of them very concerned.
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And some parents with a child in this age group already believe their child is spending too much time on certain devices, including smartphones. (It’s important to note that this survey was conducted before the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., which closed many schools and ordered widespread shutdowns and stay-at-home orders across the country.)
While most parents with a young child say they are very (39%) or somewhat certain (45%) that they know what screen time is appropriate for their child, they also seek advice from others. About 61% of parents of children 11 and older said they had received advice or information about screen time from a doctor or other medical professional, and 55% of other parents said the same, while 45% of parents of children 5 to 5 years old said the same. 11 have gone to teachers for help.
Parents in general are also concerned about the long-term effects of smartphones on their children’s development: 71% believe that widespread smartphone use by young children can cause more harm than good.
The idea comes at a time when it is common for children of all ages to engage with digital devices
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For example, 80% of parents say their children between the ages of 5 and 11 use or interact with tablets, with 63% saying the same about smartphones. For parents of children under 5, these proportions are also significant: 48% and 55%, respectively. Meanwhile, one-third (36%) of parents of children 11 or older say their child uses or interacts with a voice-activated assistant like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. But there are big age differences: Parents who have an older child are more likely than parents with a child ages 5 to 11 (46%), 3 to 4 (30%) or 2 or younger (14%). Their children use or interact with this type of technology
Many of the terms used in this report relate to parents, children’s ages, and children’s methods of adopting technology. This reference guide defines each term
Parent is used to refer to an adult who indicates that he or she is the parent or guardian of at least one child under the age of 18, but may also have one or more older children.
Parents of children 11 or older is used to refer to parents who report having children 11 or older. In cases where families have more than one child in this age group, these questions to parents focus on one of those children, their oldest or youngest child in this age group (based on randomization).
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A parent of a child under 4 or younger is used to refer to parents whose randomly assigned children are under 5 years of age (0 to 4).
Parents of children aged 5 to 11 years are used to refer to parents whose randomly assigned children are between 5 and 11 years of age.
Engagement and interaction with digital technology among children was measured by asking parents about the devices their children use or are using.
YouTube has emerged as a major platform for both young and old children Fully 89% of parents of 5- to 11-year-olds say their child watches videos on YouTube, 81% of 3- to 4-year-olds, and 57% of children under 2. And while most parents whose children use YouTube credits to entertain and educate their children, most of those parents worry about exposing their children to inappropriate content on the video-sharing site.
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But the conversation about screen time isn’t just limited to kids Parents struggle with their own distractions When asked if they spend too much, too little or not enough time on their phones, more than half of parents (56%) say they spend too much time on their smartphones, compared to seven in ten (68%). At least when spending time with children, they are distracted by their phones
The results come from a nationally representative survey of 3,640 American parents who have at least one child under the age of 18, but may also have an older child, conducted online March 2-15, 2020, using the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel. Ipsos Knowledge Panel The following are among other key findings
When asked if parenting was harder, easier, or the same as 20 years ago, the largest share (66%) of parents—including those with children under 18—say it’s harder today. For most parents Meanwhile, only 7% think it’s easier, while 26% think parenting is about the same as it was two decades ago.
Across demographic groups, parents are more likely to say that parenting today is harder than in the past, but there are some slight differences by age. Nearly seven in 10 parents over 50 (71%) say parenting today is more difficult than 66% of parents aged 30 to 49 and 60% of those aged 18 to 29.
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Parents cited a variety of reasons why they believe parenting has become more difficult over the years. Some of the most common responses emphasized the impact of digital technology (26%), the rise of social media (21%) and how access to technology exposes children to things at an early age (14%). Other frequently cited reasons for parenting being more difficult are morals and values and the cost of raising a child.
Parents are wary of the influence of mobile devices and relatively few think children under 12 should have their own smartphones.
As more children have access to mobile devices, one question parents and experts ask is when is it acceptable for children to have a smartphone or tablet.
Age 12 to 14 seems like an important milestone in parents’ eyes for smartphones The survey found that the majority of parents (73%) believe that it is acceptable for children to have their own phone once they reach a minimum age.
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