Millennials not only accept but expect tech automation to help them in nearly every aspect of their lives – from Spotify’s ‘made for you’ playlists, to Alexa’s automated grocery list. However, reliance on an algorithm only goes so far. When it comes to how they parent, Millennials aren’t ready to let technology replace the very human nature of the job.
They don’t accept the idea that the iPad can function as a replacement babysitter, but they do expect that technology will play a major role in how their kids grow up. They are between embracing tech to help their children be a part of today’s digitally-connected world, and fearing that their kids develop digital dependence. When it comes to how their kids interact with screens, this is a generation of curating caregivers.
HELICOPTER PARENTING HAS CRASH LANDED
Remember the helicopter parent archetype? That is not how Millennials think about raising kids in the modern world. Young parents, between the ages of 18 and 34, are so attached to their own devices, they see digital exposure for their kids as inevitable and don’t try to shield them from the online world. Over one-third of young parents say their kids spend 3-5 hours per day with digital video.1 Today’s parents know that tech literacy is essential for kids to be able to adapt for the future.
Millennial parents view digital video consumption as a great way for their children to learn new things. Nearly half of young parents say their kids are more tech-savvy than they are.2 Denouncing digital altogether would essentially mean holding their kids back. Plus, the advent of ready-to-play child-friendly entertainment in the palm of their hands––literally––helps this generation of parents get through their busy days.
HEALTHY EXPOSURE IS CURATED, NOT AUTOMATED
Although this generation of new parents is not over-sheltering their kids like their helicopter parent predecessors, that doesn’t mean they proceed without caution. Tech-savvy is different than tech-addicted. This is where the curation comes in. While our research shows that nearly half of Millennial parents do enforce screen time limitations for their children1, it also shows they pay attention to the types of programming that get slotted into the allowed time. Their parenting style is all about identifying tech experiences that will contribute positively to their child’s development. Around 70% of millennial parents are taking control by either picking a video for their kid to watch or supervising as their child chooses a video.1
Parents consider multiple factors in their selection approach. Primarily, they want to make their kids happy and that means picking videos their kids truly enjoy, but it has to be age-appropriate. Once parents have identified that the content is safe and makes their kids smile, they look for signs that it delivers deeper enrichment by either teaching their kids something new or providing some moral value. Online content that provides kid enjoyment and clearly contributes to positive development will be curated into healthy screen time.
BRANDS CAN ALLY AS CO-CURATORS
Identifying which types of content bring value to children is not always easy. When Millennial parents have to constantly look over their kids’ shoulders, tech becomes an enemy, not an ally. With 61% of parents saying their kids have seen age-inappropriate content on YouTube, we see a demand for some more trust-worthy programming.3 Brands that provide products and services that make it easier to find positive digital experiences for kids and help moms and dads manage their kids’ digital diets will be embraced with trust and loyalty.
For more on Parennials, download our TBH Hot Take: The Parennial POV
1. Fullscreen, TBH Survey 2019 (1/10/19 – 1/30/19)
2. Mintel, Families and Technology, February 2019
3. Pew Research Center, November 2018