- Despite reporting their children have experienced negative effects of social media, less than half of parents surveyed utilize available parental controls
- When asked why they do not use these tools, 60% of parents say they 'trust their kids to make good decisions online'
BOSTON, Sept. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- As children across the country head back to school, Aura, the leader in intelligent safety, and market research firm Ipsos released new data exploring parents' concerns for their children on social media platforms. The study found that 66% of parents report that their children have experienced negative effects of social media, including addiction; yet still, 60% of parents choose not to use parental control features because they trust their children to make good decisions while using apps and browsing the internet.
After the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory calling the impact of social media on youth mental health a public health crisis, several major social media and community platforms introduced opt-in parental controls. A study by Aura now examines if concerned parents are using these controls.
"Social media is synonymous with many children's social lives. Assuming that they will stay off sites until they are teens is simply not realistic," said Hari Ravichandran, founder and CEO of Aura. "As a father, my kids' near-constant changing interests make it hard for me– or for any parent– to pace with the trending apps. Aura's Parental Controls are essential online safety tools keeping my family safe."
In fact, Aura's study revealed a trend of children joining social media earlier. About 35% of parents mentioned their kids starting to use social media before age 7, rising to 64% before age 10.
Parents' Concerns for Children's Social Media Usage
In the study, Aura explored parents' greatest concerns for their children while active on social media sites, including video streaming platforms (e.g., YouTube), video/image sharing apps (e.g., Instagram, TikTok), microblogging apps (e.g., Twitter/X, Threads), gaming-related apps (e.g., Roblox, Twitch) and interest-based chat platforms (e.g., Reddit, Discord).
Parents demonstrated moderate levels of concern across all social media platforms regarding various issues:
- Children developing social media addiction (62%)
- Receiving predatory messages (62%)
- Encountering or participating in X-rated content or conversations (62%)
- Engaging with strangers (60%)
- Facing peer pressure or cyberbullying (53%)
Their concerns are based on firsthand experience. Two-thirds of parents with kids on social media note their children experiencing negative effects, with the top concerns being social media addiction (25%) and sleep disruption (24%).
Despite Concern, Parents Aren't Utilizing Parental Controls
The study discovered that fewer than half of parents with kids active on social media make use of available parental controls across various social media apps.
- Just over 36% of parents utilize parental controls for gaming apps, while 29% do so for video/image sharing apps like Instagram and TikTok.
- Usage drops to 23% for microblogging apps like Twitter, and to 19% for internet-based chat/thread apps such as Reddit and Discord.
While 50% of parents employ parental controls on video streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix, it's interesting to note that these platforms offer limited opportunities for social interaction.
Most parents say they aren't using parental controls because they trust their children to make good decisions (60%), yet the worry over negative effects remains.
More details on the survey and methodology are available for download via Aura's newsroom, including a fact sheet that includes additional data.
Protecting Your Connected Family
Aura provides powerful protection for kids. Available as part of Aura's family protection, Aura Parental Controls provide parents with key features that can provide peace of mind while kids browse, share, game and chat online.
- Monitor Content and Block Websites: Aura's Content Filters allow you to customize what your kids can view online. Easily select apps, games, and websites to limit or restrict altogether.
- Limit Screen Time: Know that your kids are safe from too much of a good thing—the internet. Set time limits for apps and websites and customize for each family member.
- Safe Gaming and Cyberbullying Alerts: Keep your child safe from online predators, scams, and cyberbullying when playing online video games. Get alerted to threats with 24/7 in-game voice and text monitoring for over 200 of the most popular PC games. Powered by award-winning ProtectMe from Kidas.
Aura, the leader in intelligent safety solutions, provides all-in-one digital protection for consumers. We understand that the online safety needs of each individual are unique and require a personalized solution. By bringing together security, privacy and parental controls on an intelligent platform, Aura makes adaptive and proactive digital safety accessible to everyone. Visit www.aura.com.
Ipsos is one of the largest market research and polling companies globally, operating in 90 markets and employing over 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 solutions are based on primary data from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques. Our tagline "Game Changers" sums up our ambition to help our 5,000 customers move confidently through a rapidly changing world.
About the Study:
This Ipsos Poll was conducted August 4-6, 2023, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel® – a division of Ipsos. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 684 adults age 18+ who have to have a child under the age of 18 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The study includes a boost of n=500 parents with children who use social media.