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Does Parents’ Media Use Affect Kids?: Study

Does Parents’ Media Use Affect Kids?: Study

Common Sense Media’s newest report finds parents aren’t the role models they think they are when it comes to screen time.

How much time each day do you typically spend on screen media?

Do you think you’re a good role model when it comes to screen time for your kids?

Common Sense Media asked more than 1,700 parents (varying in ages, ethnicities, and income and education categories) of children ages 8-18 similar questions for its newest study, The Common Sense Census: Plugged in Parents of Tweens and Teens. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families make smart media choices, completed the study to see how parents use media and technology, how they manage and monitor their kids’ use, and how they talk to their kids about media.

While the majority of parents (78 percent) surveyed think they are good media-use role models for their kids, the study found parents spend more than 9 hours each day with screen media—most of that time is spent on personal media (watching TV, social networking, and video gaming) and approximately 90 minutes is devoted to work media. Meanwhile, many parents are more concerned about how much time their kids take in various media: 56 percent are worried their kids may become addicted to technology and 43 percent are worried their children are spending too much time online, while 34 percent believe technology use negatively impacts their children’s sleep.

"These findings are fascinating because parents are using media for entertainment just as much as their kids, yet they express concerns about their kids' media use while also believing that they are good role models for their kids," said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, in a press release. "Media can add a lot of value to relationships, education, and development, and parents clearly see the benefits, but if they are concerned about too much media in their kids' lives, it might be time to reassess their own behavior so that they can truly set the example they want for their kids."

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Half of parents surveyed (50 percent) believe social media hurts children’s physical activity.
  • Monitoring their children’s media use is more important to 67 percent of parents than respecting their children’s privacy.
  • The majority (94 percent) of parents have positive attitudes about the role of technology in their children’s education.
  • Many parents have nixed mobile devices at family meals (78 percent) and bedtime (63 percent).

plugged-in parents infographic
Click image to enlarge.

To read more of the study’s findings, visit


Common Sense Media Study Reveals Teens Media Usage

Put the mobile devices down, well, after you read our activities newsletter...


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Katelin Walling

Author: Katelin Walling is the former editorial director for NYMetroParents. She has been writing about parenting, health, finance, education, fun things to do in NYC and the surrounding area, and more for nearly 10 years. She also has 20+ years of child care experience and was a babysitter in NYC for 8 years. Katelin graduated from the University of Maine in 2011 and attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute during the summer of 2011. To unplug in her free time, she can often be found reading, knitting (or general crafting), or whipping up a vegan treat—all with a cup of coffee nearby. See More

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