Being a parent in the digital age has long been overwhelming. Trying to keep up with the latest gaming, social media and devices that kids are enjoying is a challenge. But a younger generation of parents who have grown up with technology are channeling this overwhelmed feeling and changing the game. Millennial parents are driving a shift in our approach to digital parenting and attitudes toward keeping kids safe online.
To better understand the digital lives of today’s families and the role parental controls and online safety tools play, we worked with the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) to launch a multiphase study. One of the key findings of the research, which was funded by Verizon, is that there is a shift in attitudes toward, behaviors around and approaches to online safety and responsibility. This shift is being driven by millennial parents.
The study included online community conversations with parents and kids, as well as a nationwide parent survey that was presented at FOSI’s annual conference in November. If you’re a parent, you may recognize yourself in some of the concerns, approaches and expectations outlined below.
Here are five key findings from the research that define the characteristics of millennial parents and their attitudes toward online safety.
No. 1: Millennial parents have grown up with technology.
As digital natives, millennials may be more adept in using technology. They’ve also likely earned their stripes with regard to online safety. As digital natives, they’re more likely to have experienced firsthand online safety incidents that they’ve had to resolve themselves. They’re also accustomed to hearing about online safety threats and solutions in schools, their communities and throughout news cycles in ways that inform their approach to addressing issues facing today’s kids.
No. 2: Millennial parents are overwhelmed by today’s vast digital landscape.
During the online community conversations with parents, one commonality unified parents of all generations: They feel overwhelmed by the number of apps, services and devices available today. It’s hard for parents to stay on top of it all. This isn’t unique to millennials; baby boomers and Generation X parents expressed similar feelings.
No. 3: Online safety is a shared responsibility.
While older parents tend to try to “own” the responsibility of keeping kids safe online, millennial parents see things differently. Just 30% of millennial parents consider themselves the “most” responsible party in keeping kids safe online, compared to 57% of boomers and 43% of Gen Xers. Millennial parents see online safety as more of a shared responsibility, not only between themselves and their kids, but also among the media and tech industries, the government, and schools.