A new report has found that parents around the world believe their kids value their phones and tablets more than holidays and pets, while 71 per cent believe tech is creating too much screen time and almost half (48 per cent) believe it is contributing to a lack of exercise.
These are the key findings from research commissioned by global communications agency Hotwire as part of an ongoing global investigation into the way technology will impact the lives of Generation Alpha – children born after 2010. You can read the report in full here.
Last year Hotwire and Wired Consulting produced a report alongside neuroscientists, cultural commentators and educators to shine a light on how technology will shape the next generation and what they will expect from it. This year, Hotwire’s latest report turns to the parents to show just how big a role tech plays in family life, specifically exploring how parents feel about the relationship between their children and the technology they use.
In Australia, 25 per cent of parents believe that by the time their children are nine, they won’t be able to keep up with the way their kids use technology, leaving them unsure how to help them in the future. This highlights the inevitable shift parents will soon be making into a purely buyer position, while children become all of the educator, influencer, and final decision-maker in the buyer cycle.
Key local findings from the report include:
• One in five parents are joining social networks like Facebook (19 per cent) and YouTube (18 per cent) because their children are using them and they want to better understand how they work
• Parents see tech as enhancing skills like problem solving (60 per cent), hand-eye coordination (49 per cent), and multi-tasking (37 per cent)
• 75 per cent of Australian parents believe their kids have too much screen time, and 46 per cent are concerned tech means children are not getting fresh air outdoors
• Friends are the most influential on Gen Alpha’s buying patterns, following by advertisements, TV shows, and online influencers
Mylan Vu, managing director for Hotwire Australia, commented, “We’re in an era where parents are blatantly aware they are no longer the most knowledgeable people in the household when it come to tech. In fact, children will be increasingly in the ‘teacher’ position as technology continues to evolve, making them better positioned than their parents to understand new technologies and how to make the most use of them.
“Gen Alpha presents a new challenge for brands – while their tech addiction presents more screen-based engagement opportunities, their extreme short-termism and multi-screen behaviour means genuine engagement is harder to achieve. Brands that plan ahead of the curve, embrace short-termism, are mobile-first and recognise the customer is king, will resonate best with this digitally born generation.”
Emma Hazan, global head of consumer at Hotwire, said, “Anyone who has young children can reel off countless ways their offspring have left you in awe of their digital prowess – whether it’s working out how to set up multiple profiles on Netflix or witnessing a toddler swipe up on an iPhone to dismiss an incoming text in favour of watching Peppa Pig.
“The reality is Generation Alpha’s ability to navigate the digital world we live in is staggering and this is only the beginning. Parents across the globe are waking up to realise that their children’s tech usage today is a real precursor to them getting good jobs tomorrow. Whilst screen time shouldn’t overshadow kids getting the right of amount of exercise and playing outdoors, it can no longer be seen as a cheap way to entertain the kids, but as a necessary tool to helping build a brighter future.”