Do you think your child loves their tablet more than you? If you do, you’re not alone.
One in three American parents believe their kids value their phone and tablets more than other possessions or activities. They also believe that by the age of 8 their children will understand how electronic devices work better than they do themselves.
These research findings are part of an on-going, global study into the way technology is impacting Generation Alpha, AKA children born after 2010.
The research, conducted by OnePoll who surveyed 8,000 parents across eight countries, was commissioned by Hotwire and Wired Consulting. Together with with neuroscientists, cultural commentators and educators, they created a survey to determine how technology will shape the next generation and what they will expect from it. In this latest round of research, they focused specifically on how parents feel about the relationship between their kids and the technology in their hands.
Countries included are the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands and Australia.
“As a parent of Generation Alpha myself, I’m experiencing first-hand how technology is just natural to today’s children,” said Laura Macdonald, head of consumer, North America at Hotwire. “From turning the lights on by talking at Alexa, to expecting that a robot does the vacuuming, and preferring to watch YouTube videos of the latest Beyblade battles versus playing it in real-life, Generation Alpha’s digital prowess is staggering.”
According to the study, U.S. parents agreed that Generation Alpha is learning tech skills at a lightning fast pace and they aren’t sure how they will keep up on the future.
To cope and keep up, parents have been downloading new apps and joining social networks to keep an eye on their kids. In fact, a whopping 84 percent of parent say they downloaded Instagram and Facebook because their kids are on those networks.
Parents admit to engaging on specific networks like Facebook (27 percent), Instagram (22 percent, YouTube (22 percent and WhatsApp (20 percent) to understand how these virtual hangouts have been influencing their children.
When looking at technology purchases, parents are also considering their kids. More than half (54 percent) said they considered how their kids would use a device when making a purchase and 25 percent even asked their children’s opinion before buying.
Sadly, 31 percent of parents raked the phone or the tablet first in their children’s’ lives. This compares to 18 percent ranking days out with the family at the top of the list, other toys (18 percent), the family pet (7 percent and holiday (5 percent).
Despite all this, 87 percent of parents think technology will help their children’s future careers and 40 percent believe it helps their confidence.
“American parents aren’t scared of technology today, but recognize it is now an essential skill for getting a good job tomorrow,” Macdonald said. “While screen time shouldn’t overshadow kids getting the right amount of exercise and playing outdoors, it can no longer be seen as a cheap way to entertain the kids, but as a necessary tool to helping build a brighter future.”
To read the full findings from The Parents of Generation Alpha study, click click here. The report will also be discussed on-stage at the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing Conference on October 27 in Orlando, Florida.
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