US Parents 2019

This Is Not Your Parents’ Parenting

About This Report
Parents are avid users of digital technology. But their usage is not a simple continuation of what they were doing before becoming parents, especially as they must be gatekeepers for their kids’ digital usage.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

As social change has altered the structure of family households in the US, digital technology has brought its own transformations. Amid these developments, parenthood today has characteristics that simply didn’t exist a couple generations ago.

What’s at the core of parents’ digital usage?

Nearly all parents use smartphones. Many check messages as soon as they awake. After the kids are asleep, many use their phones in bed for purposes ranging from viewing videos to purchasing products. Social media usage is the norm for parents, and mothers are Facebook stalwarts.

How do parents feel about their kids’ digital usage?

Managing kids’ screen time is a source of stress for parents. A majority see social media as more harmful than beneficial. Many parents with young children feel the same about smartphones. Also, though many parents are video gamers themselves, they look askance at gaming’s impact on kids.

How does digital figure into parents’ shopping?

When people have kids, the need to save time and money takes on fresh urgency. The internet is central to their information-gathering before they buy, with Amazon a frequent destination. Showrooming is standard procedure.

Does the “new dad” really do his fair share?

There’s talk of fathers being more involved in childcare. But while they may do more today than fathers in past generations, they do not match what mothers do. One caveat to the “new dad” story: Nearly one-quarter of fathers aren’t members of the same households as all of their minor children.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report looks at factors (mostly but not all related to digital usage) that make parenthood different today from what it was like for prior generations.

KEY STAT: Bedtime is digital time for many parents, with mobile devices helping them make the most of that golden period when their kids are asleep.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. How Do Parents Shape Up as Users of Digital Technology?
  3. How Do Parents Handle the Role of Gatekeeper for Their Kids’ Digital Usage?
  4. How Do Digital Tools Fit into Parents’ Shopping?
  1. How Do Some Parent-Specific Expenses Fit into Their Finances?
  2. Is the ‘New Dad’ Really Doing an Equal Share of the Childcare and Housework?
  3. Key Takeaways
  4. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Sarah Clark
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
Co-Director, National Poll on Children’s Health
Interviewed March 1, 2019
Jaime Schwartz Cohen
Senior Vice President and Director, Nutrition
Interviewed March 6, 2019
Katherine Cullen
National Retail Federation
Director, Industry and Consumer Insights
Interviewed February 22, 2019
Surya Kolluri
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
Managing Director
Interviewed March 1, 2019
Emily Mulder
Family Online Safety Institute
Program Director
Interviewed February 27, 2019
Janet Oak
Senior Vice President, Deputy Head of Media and Entertainment
Interviewed February 26, 2019
Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan
Ohio State University
Professor, Psychology
Interviewed February 25, 2019
Casey Taylor
Vice President, Client Development
Interviewed February 28, 2019

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