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Children's Health Council

New Study Analyzes How Parents Contribute to the Teen and Tween Media Landscape

technology media use

December 8, 2016, News

Parents report spending large portions of their day watching television, playing video games, and trawling through social media—while still mostly expressing confidence that they are setting good examples for their children, according to a new study by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based nonprofit and advocacy group.

The study, The Common Sense Census: Plugged-In Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016, aims to analyze how parents contribute to the teen and “tween” media use landscape.

This national report is based on surveys from more than 1,700 parents of children age 8 to 18. For the purpose of the report, “teens” are considered to be ages 13 to 18, and “tweens” are ages 8 to 12.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Parents spend an average of 9 hours and 22 minutes per day on screen time (1:39 for work purposes, and 7:43 for personal purposes.) White parents, better educated parents and higher wage-earners reported spending the least time in front of screens.
  • Seventy-eight percent of parents believe they do a good job of modeling appropriate media use to their children. Mothers are slightly more likely to hold this belief than fathers.
  • The average parent is not overly concerned with how much time their children spend online—only 43 percent are at least moderately worried about internet time. Parents of “tweens,” however, are consistently more concerned about Internet time and the content accessed by their children than parents of teens.
  • The vast majority of parents believe it is important to monitor their children’s media use. A 41 percent plurality report checking their child’s social media “always” or “most of the time.”

Read the full article here in Education Week online. Download the report, The Common Sense Census: Plugged-In Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016 from Common Sense Media here.

Note: A (free) Common Sense Media account is required to view or download the report.
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