Parent/Teen Research on Mother’s Day Eve

A ministry organization (Orange) which has greatly impacted our family ministries here at The Crossing recently released a study they did this year on the family and technology. A few of us have read through the results in the past week, and a couple of things jumped out at me as being interesting enough to mention here.

Here are some of those results –

  • Technology use of parents and teenagers are not markedly different. Parents use smart phones/cell phones more, teens use iPods and gaming systems more, while tablet computer, laptops, and desktops are used quite similarly.
  • Parents report using video games regularly at an astonishingly high rate, 45%. For comparison, only 68% reported using their laptop ready. There could be good reasons for this. It’s a good rule that parents should try to be interested in what their kids are interested in. So maybe these parents are playing with their kids to spend time with them. Or maybe they’re World of Warcraft addicts. Maybe I’m old school, but that just seems weird.
  • How parents and teens perceive time spent together is interesting. They both report time spent watching TV, movies, or viewing the internet at similar levels. But ask them how much time they spend talking? Parents say 43 minutes a day, teens say 29, a moderate difference in percentage. My hunch is this is connected to another finding which is that 23% of teens think “no one understands me.” Let me suggest that as a parent if your teen doesn’t think you’re talking with them even if you are, you should find different ways to communicate.
  • Spending time together is perceived differently between parents and teenagers. Parents appear to only count quality time, while multi-tasking time counts for a teen. For instance, parents say they spend 15 minutes a day with their teen playing video games, teens say 39. Parents say 12 minutes texting, students say 32. Right or wrong, for better or worse, teenagers see these times as “family” time, while parents don’t.
  • Teens seem to be more optimistic than parents. 94% of them claimed to be hopeful for the future, while only 87% of parents said the same.
  • Parents and teens see eye to eye for the most part when it comes to how emotionally close they are. 64% of parents say they are close to their teens, 59% of teens say likewise. BUT, when teens are asked about their emotional relationship with their dad, only 35% feel close. Dads, we’ve got to step up.

There are other things in the study worth mentioning, but that’s probably enough for today.

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