Half of parents recently surveyed said they are at least ‘somewhat concerned’ that their child’s mobile device usage is negatively affecting their mental health.
Are you worried that your kid is addicted to their mobile device? You’re not alone—47 percent of parents feel their child is “addicted” to their mobile device, according to a new survey from nonprofit Common Sense and SurveyMonkey; 32 percent of those parents said the same about themselves.
The survey of 4,201 adults, including 1,024 parents with children younger than 18, was conducted from this Jan. 25 to 29. Half of parents surveyed said they are at least “somewhat concerned” that their child’s mobile device usage is negatively affecting their mental health.
YouTube is contributing to those worries. Sixty-two percent of parents whose children watch YouTube videos said their kid has encountered inappropriate videos on the Google-owned platform. But while the majority (81 percent) of parents said it’s mainly their job to prevent their kids from seeing inappropriate videos, just 40 percent have taken advantage of YouTube’s parental controls, the survey found. Thirty-seven percent have not used these controls and another 22 percent didn’t even know YouTube offered them.
“Parental concerns about technology addiction and the content children are exposed to on devices is very real, yet parents feel that they alone are responsible for managing these issues,” Common Sense CEO and Founder James P. Steyer said in a statement. “It would be nice if the tech companies would partner with parents in this effort. Based on these findings, YouTube could teach us all how to use parental controls. That would be a good, simple way to start.”
This issue made headlines late last year when several big-name companies pulled their ads from YouTube following revelations that they appeared alongside pedophilic and exploitative child content. YouTube, in response, shut down “hundreds” of accounts and removed more than 150,000 disturbing videos of children.
Meanwhile, Facebook recently launched Messenger Kids, its first app built specifically for children, prompting concern from experts. Child advocates have urged Facebook to discontinue Messenger Kids over concerns that it will “undermine children’s healthy development,” but the social network has done the exact opposite by making the app more widely available.