Saturday, June 15 2024

It is no secret that young people spend the greater part of their time with
the communication media, whether it be with a mobile phone, a video game or
television. But what do their parents think about this? What is their
opinion, what are the orientations?

Common Sense

, a center specialized in studies about education and communication media,
has developed a study to better understand what is the real attention of
American parents toward the media and what worries they have about their
children. The results make a faithful picture of the current American

Parents are the primary users of the communication media and technology
in the family

The first relevant fact is that parents spend more than 9 hours in front of the screen
during work and free time. A truly high figure. They are certainly not an
example for their children from this point of view. The true paradox,
nevertheless, is that these same parents, while being the first to use many
of the communication media and technology, later reveal themselves to be
conscious of the possible risks and dangers of such an elevated exposure.

Among their main worries in fact is the danger of developing a dependence
on media and technology by an excessive use that could cause psychological
disorders in the children themselves, such as for example loss of sleep.
The internet and social media especially raise alarm:

50% of parents believe that social media can cause damage to the
psycho-physical balance of their children

, in particular for loss of concentration (35%), in the development of
communicative and social capacities (34%), in behavior (24%), in school
performance (22%), in emotional equilibrium (20%) and in personal
relationships (15%).

Differences between white, African-American, and Hispanic parents

One of the main merits of this investigation is that it proves differences
of behaviour of the three principle American ethnic groups. It shows
greater disposition toward control on the part of Hispanic parents,
compared to African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites.

Hispanic parents tend to be more attentive than whites or people of

color in managing the use of communication media with their children.

For example, 60% of them claim to be very attentive in preventing their
children from spending too much time on the internet, compared to 37% and
33% in the other groups. A notable difference.


social media, two-thirds of Hispanic parents claim to be always very
careful in the use that their children make of them

. Finally, two-thirds as well of Hispanic parents and parents of color
claim to be very attentive to what their children see and hear in the
media, compared with 51% of white parents.


Respect for the privacy of children is not a very important factor within
the educational plan of one’s own children or at least it is not a priority


two-thirds of parents (67%) affirm, in fact, that is more important to
control the use of the media on the part of one’s children than to
respect their privacy.

In other words, prevention and control come first.

Technology and education

Finally, what do parents think about the use of technology in the
scholastic preparation of their children? Here the consensus is universal.

Almost all (94%) affirm that technology provides a valid support for
schoolwork and education

. Parents have a positive opinion about the role of technology in the
education of their children and for the development and training of
important educational capacities.

Methodology of the study

The study was conducted in July of 2016 through questionnaires in a complex
panel of more than 1,700 parents of children between 8 and 18 years old,
who live in the United States. The questionnaires were offered both in
English and in Spanish, using a statistical representative sampling of the
U.S. population.

The study considered all possible types of communication media, with a
special attention to television, paying special attention to new media,
social media, internet and video games.


The study reveals a complex framework of what the strategies of mediation,
control, and management are concerning the use of communication media at
home and away from home. The findings show that parents, especially
Hispanic parents, are very active in observing their children when they are
using the telephone or playing with a video game console, to avoid
excessive exposure or bad habits. But at the same time, parents do not
demonize technology, believing that it is useful for the education and
academic progress of their children. In conclusion, the study provides
interesting perspectives from the viewpoint of education of the
communication media, which could be taken up again as well to develop the
same study in a European or Asian context.


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