Parents tell us how they’re approaching family tech use


Last year, parents were forced to quickly adapt when schools, daycares and eventually summer camps closed. Almost immediately, many kids turned to online services for education and entertainment.

We want to provide a new website with helpful resources for families raising kids in a digital world during this challenging moment. So we decided to look at last year’s top Google Search trends related to digital parenting, and also surveyed more than 2,000 parents with kids under 13 in the U.S. Here’s what we found:

1. Parents don’t feel equipped to talk about tech use with their kidsOver this last year, 2 in 5 parents said they don’t feel confident in talking about different tech-related topics with the kids. This includes discussions about things like screen time, digital wellbeing and discovering quality apps, games and activities. Kick off the conversation with your kids with some helpful tips.

2. Screen time rules are changingSearches for "how much screen time should a child have" trended last year. As parents searched for how to manage the time their kids spend on devices, distance learning inevitably led to increased screen time usage. Check out how to form healthy digital habits.

3. Remote learning became the normSearches for “how to homeschool” and “learning at home” reached all-time highs last year. This comes as no surprise given that 82 percent of families reported participating in remote learning. Learn more about classroom tools to help with distance learning.

4. Balancing online time with mindful experiencesIn our survey, we found that parents are looking for quality kids content for learning, play and wellbeing. In fact, searches for “kids mindfulness” reached an all-time high in September 2020. We’re working with Headspace to create content that helps families practice mindfulness and wellbeing.

5.Discovering fun activities is a mustFun, engaging activities are key to keeping kids focused, and they can also be a great way for families to spend time together. “Fun at home activities for kids” reached  all-time highs in April. Discover how tech can help your family experience new things together.

6. Devices are a part of families’ everyday livesAs families continue to increase their technology usage, it’s helpful to set up digital ground rules. Our survey found that 70 percent of parents have kids with their own phones, and 75 percent of parents have kids with their own tablets. Find which parental controls suit your family’s needs.

7. Make online safety a central part of your tech conversation with your kidsOur survey found that 1 in 4 parents have not proactively spoken to their kids about online safety over the past year. Before giving devices to your kids, have a conversation and help teach them how to be safe, smart and positive online.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing a full report on kids, families and technology that we’ve developed with the Family Online Safety Institute. In the meantime, you can check out a few of our new resources and tools families.

Methodology: Findings are based on results of online surveys conducted by Suzy. Wave 1 was conducted in January 2021; wave 2 was conducted in February 2021. The online surveys were conducted among n=2000 respondents. The sample was nationally representative as it relates to age, gender, household income, race/ethnicity and region. All respondents of the sample consisted of parents with at least one child under 13 living with them.


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