A new study, Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology (PDF), was recently released by Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development. The 52-page report is easy to read and chock full of interesting graphics and charts.
Data were gathered through a survey of 2,326 parents whose children were eight years old and younger. The surveys were conducted in English and Spanish. Check out page nine of the report for more information on the methodology of the research project.
Most Interesting Report Findings (more are available in the report)
- A large number of the parents in the survey do not believe that increased use of media has made parenting easier.
- Most parents in the survey did not report many or significant family conflicts around media use.
- There continues to be a big gap between those who can afford new digital devices and those who cannot afford them.
- The study identified three types of parenting styles when it comes to family media use.
- Media-centric family life centers around various types of screens, and parents as well as children enjoy using media a lot of the time.
- Media moderate family life includes less media access, and the television is turned off a lot more of the time. Video games are not as important to daily life as in a media-centric family.
- Media lite family life includes screen time but less than the other two parenting styles. They tend to do to less television watching as a family, and they do not use television to distract children so that parents can accomplish other tasks.