Parental Digital Behavior


To gain an understanding of how parents of young children view and use digital resources, in order to understand current and emerging digital needs of parents of young children.

Early Findings

Digital Citizenship

  • Digital citizenship refers to online behaviors and knowledge, including responsible and safe use of technology.
  • The concept of digital citizenship applies to children of all ages, with parents needing to assist in guidance and learning with their children.
  • Virtual resources, such as CyberWise, offer parents education on issues such as current social media apps, tips regarding screen time limits, and raising children in a world increasingly dependent on technology.

Parental Needs and Concerns

  • Technology has become increasingly important in society, presenting parents with new challenges.
  • Concerns reported by parents regarding technology tend to fall into three categories: content, contact, and conduct.
  • Content concerns refer to parental concerns of what their children see online.
  • Contact concerns relate to who children come into contact with when online.
  • Conduct concerns involve parents worrying about how their children present themselves online, including what information is shared and how they interact with others.
  • Parents struggle to know the right amounts of technology to afford their children.
  • Digital concerns regarding cyber-bullying, predators, and inappropriate content plague parents of young children.

Parents' Technology Use

  • Parents of young children often use technology when their young children are sleeping or otherwise occupied.
  • A 2019 study found watching television or movies is the most common digital behavior of parents after their children are asleep, with 76-81% of parents reporting this behavior. Use of social media (60-71%) and talking/texting on a phone (53-66%) were the next most common digital behaviors of parents.
  • Approximately 35% of parents reported playing video games after the children were asleep.
  • Several digital tools are available to parents of young children, to provide support and education.
  • Digital tools marketed to parents involve supporting child development, improving interaction, and providing basic education and support.

Proposed next steps:

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