Pew Research: Concerned Parents, Tech-Savvy Kids

Children in School Lucélia Ribeiro CC BY-SA 2.0 Some rights reserved
“Children at School” by Lucélia Ribeiro CC BY-SA 2.0 Some rights reserved (source)

Children are using technology and social media. So how do parents feel about their children’s habits? According to recent research from Pew Research Center, “one-in-three parents say they have had concerns or questions about their child’s technology use in the last year.”

In this survey, 33% of parents said they have had concerns or questions about their child’s technology use in the past 12 months. Mothers and fathers are equally likely to have had concerns and questions.

Less troublesome but still a concern to parents is the information others post about their children online:

Parents show relatively low levels of concern about what others have posted about their child online. Just 12% of parents say they have ever felt uncomfortable about something a spouse, family member, or friend posted about their child on social media. Fully 88% say they have not felt this way.

However, when parents do feel uncomfortable, many are likely to ask the poster to remove the offending content. Overall, 11% of parents have ever asked a family member, caregiver, or friend to take something about their child down from social media.

To read the whole report, click here.  To read my series on parental engagement in teaching digital citizenship to children, click here.

Pew Research: Mothers Support Each Other On Social Media


According to recent research from the Pew Research Center, mothers are heavily engaged on social media and are especially likely to give and receive support on social media.

  • 81% of parents who use social media try to respond to good news others share in their networks, including 45% of social-media-using parents who “strongly agree” that they do so. Some 53% of mothers say they “strongly agree,” compared with 33% of fathers who say that.
  • 74% of parents who use social media get support from their friends there.2 Digging into the data, 35% of social-media-using parents “strongly agree” that they get support from friends on social media. Fully 45% of mothers who use social media “strongly agree” that they get support from friends on social media, compared with just 22% of fathers.
  • 71% of all parents on social media try to respond if they know the answer to a question posed by someone in their online network.
  • 58% of parents who use social media try to respond when a friend or acquaintance shares bad news online. Mothers are particularly likely to “strongly agree” that they try to do this – 31% say so, compared with 21% of fathers.

Here’s an image from Pew regarding how parents interact with social media to find information relevant to their parenting:

Pew Research
Pew Research

The report also shares that among the various social media platforms, parents are much more likely to use Facebook (while non-parents use Instagram.) In terms of community, here’s an interesting finding: “Parents are more likely to be Facebook friends with their parents than non-parents, 53% vs. 40%. They also are more likely to be friends with their neighbors on the network, 41% vs. 34% of non-parents.”

My takeaway from the research? While social media doesn’t appear to be a consistently reliable place to get parenting advice, it has strong potential for providing support to parents. In other words, parents that #trustparents (themselves and fellow parents) and who support each other can benefit from strong online bonds. Here’s the link to the full report.

(In my next post, I’ll look at what the report has to say about parents’ thoughts on their children on social media.)

Teens #TrustParents More than the Internet with Health Questions


Teens have many questions about their health. What makes a balanced diet? How do I get rid of acne? What are some tips for dealing with anxiety?

When it comes to answering those questions, new research from the Center on Media and Human Development School of Communication at Northwestern University shows that 96% of teens have gotten health information from their parents and 84% of teens have searched for health information on the internet. But does the Internet provide satisfactory answers to teen’s questions? Well, the study found that only 24% of teens are satisfied with online health information.

So who might be a more trustworthy source, according to teens?

The 24 percent who say they are ‘very’ satisfied with online health information falls far short of the percent who are very satisfied with information from their parents (57 percent), health providers (54 percent) or health classes at school (38 percent),” the study reported. Results were based on a survey of 1,156 adolescents aged 13 to 18.

In an article from the New York Times, Marguerita Lightfoot, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said,

“Everyone thinks teens don’t talk to their parents, but if they’re really worried about their symptoms, they’ll go to them,”

In what may be a surprise to some people, only 13% of teens have used the internet as a research tool for things they felt uncomfortable talking to their parents about.

One takeaway from this research is that even in the internet age parents remain influential. Teens now get information from the internet but they still rely on and #TrustParents.