Parents agree on reason why it’s harder to raise their kids these days than when they were growing up

FOUR in five American parents say it’s harder to raise children today than when they were growing up, according to new research.

The survey polled 2,000 American parents of school-aged children to see how they handle their kids in today’s digital age and found 80 percent agreed parenting is more challenging than 30 years ago due to technology.

Parents have admitted that they worry about their kids' obsession with tech


Parents have admitted that they worry about their kids’ obsession with techCredit: Getty
They believe kids grow up faster with the presence of tech


They believe kids grow up faster with the presence of techCredit: Getty

Eighty-six percent of parents polled also agreed that kids “grow up” much faster today thanks to tech.

The parents shared that their children received their first internet-connected device when they were just seven years old. Only 23 percent of respondents claimed that their child was allowed to access the internet at the age of five.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Smith Micro Software, the survey found that kids are spending an average of 43 percent of their free time on some type of internet-connected device – and the Covid-19 pandemic may have exasperated it.

Four in five parents agreed they’ve allowed their kids to have more screen time to stay entertained due to the limits imposed on them due to the pandemic. In fact, four in 10 parents surveyed said their kid racks up five or more hours of entertainment-related screen time every day.

To help prepare them for the potential dangers lurking on the internet, 86 percent of parents said they talk to their kids regularly about their online safety – and with good reason.

When asked what is most worrisome regarding their child’s wellbeing, 31 percent of parents cited physical safety while nearly the same number (30 percent) said their child’s online safety worries them the most.

Nearly nine in 10 (88 percent) of parents surveyed agreed that it’s their responsibility to monitor and/or control their child’s online activity. Interestingly, more than half (54 percent) of the same parents agree that it’s a violation of their child’s trust to monitor, track and/or control their online activity.

Negative or dangerous interactions on social networks (55%) and inappropriate content (54%) were the top concerns regarding their online safety.

Surprisingly though, parents were less concerned about cyberbullying (38%), or playing violent videogames (23%).

Children can say the worst things. 71% of parents stated that their children challenge them. They also claim they know more about internet safety than they do.

These challenges bring up disagreements over their online presence. The most common argument is about how much money their children spend online.

“Digital platforms empower today’s children to craft unique identities and worldviews independent of their parent’s influence at a much younger age,” Smith Micro Software President and CEO William W. Smith Jr.

“For parents, this loss of control can be very scary.

Fifty-five percent of parents admitted to arguing with their kids over how much time they’re spending online while a little less than half (47 percent) said they have spats with their kids about what they’re doing online.

Forty-two percent of parents said that their kid’s smartphone usage frequently causes arguments, while only 32 percent cited their child’s data privacy as a bone of contention.

Parents rely on many digital parenting tools and technologies to keep their children safe online.

43% of parents say they have a family media plan that allows them to set screen time limits and monitor digital media consumption. Another 33% impose daily screen time limits.

Additional safety measures that parents depend on include parental control software (42%) and content filters (39%) as well as designated screen-free zones in the home (36%).

“The results of our survey indicate that a sizable proportion of American parents regularly use digital parenting technology to keep their kids safe online,” Smith agreed.

“These tools are now mainstream – with 92 percent of parents saying they appreciate the value it adds to their daily routines.”

Kids will often have their own cellphones by the average age of seven


Kids will often have their own cellphones by the average age of sevenCredit: Getty

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