American families exchange an average of 10,384 messages a year, according to new research.
A new study examined the communication habits of 2,000 parents with children aged 6 to 25 and found that individual text messages was the most popular form of communication among the 28 daily messages the average family exchanges.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Life360, the study found that families use one-on-one messages to stay in touch with each other for nearly every aspect of their lives.
The top activity families use one-on-one messages for is making dinner plans – at 53 percent. Next in line was coordinating errands (43 percent), coordinating pick-up and drop-off for school and extracurricular activities (46 percent) and checking in on everyone (43 percent).
Those with teens were the most likely to use group messages to communicate for a variety of things, including just to stay in touch and have fun – at 45 percent for both parents with children aged 13 to 15 and those aged 16 to 18.
When it comes to social media, 56 percent of parents of children of age (13+) require them to allow them access to monitor their accounts.
Furthermore, the top policy parents enforce with their children is that they must meet the parents before allowing their children to sleepover at a friend’s house – at 52 percent.
Over half of parents also require that their children frequently check-in while they’re out and about with friends.
To ease their minds, 51 percent of parents surveyed currently use a location-sharing service within their family. And nearly seven in 10 parents agreed that they feel comfortable using a location-sharing service to ensure their children are safe.
“Parents of today’s first digitally native families are facing new challenges brought on by the age of technology,” said Chris Hulls, Co-Founder and CEO, Life360. “At Life360, we are dedicated to helping families navigate these modern concerns by providing services for families across the globe to keep their loved ones safe and connected.”
But even after easing their minds, parents naturally worry about their little ones.
While in elementary school, nearly half of parents surveyed (47 percent) worried that their children might spend too much time in front of screens. This outweighs the more traditional worry that their children won’t make friends, at 26 percent.
In elementary school, three in 10 respondents are also concerned their children will post or send content online that might negatively affect their reputation – but that concern doesn’t leave when kids enter middle school.
For middle school students, 35 percent of parents worry that their sons will post or send content online that will negatively affect their reputation, compared to 27 percent when it comes to their daughters.
Also during middle school, 48 percent of parents worried that their children might make bad decisions a result of peer pressure.
Perhaps not surprising, was the top worry for their children during high school – not getting into a good college topped the list at 41 percent. This worry was closely followed by 39 percent of parents worrying about their children’s schoolwork stress.
Over six in 10 parents believe that the digital age has made parenting more difficult. In fact, parents wish that certain digital must-haves for children nowadays were never invented, including 25 percent who wish the internet didn’t exist.
The various new forms of social media have come alongside the invention of trendy and expensive tech – which almost two-thirds of parents surveyed (64 percent) feel compelled to buy for their kids, because of pressure from their peers, their kids and themselves.
Over three quarters of parents surveyed do believe that there can be a balance between giving their children freedom, but also keeping them safe.
However, the data shows that the absolute top priority parents have for their children is a tie between their health and their safety – at 65 percent for both. Next in line was their children’s happiness (61 percent) and then their independence (42 percent).
“Safety is a top priority for parents and it is for Life360 too,” said Chris Hulls, Co-Founder and CEO, Life360. “With services like location sharing, smart notifications, and safe driving features, parents can rest a little easier knowing we are there for them when their kids want to walk to school with their friends for the first time or when they have a new driver in the house.”
TOP PRIORITIES PARENTS HAVE FOR THEIR KIDS
TOP PARENTAL WORRIES FOR KIDS DURING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
1. They spend too much time in front of screens 47%
2. They might fall behind in school 43%
3. They might be negatively influenced by the media 40%
4. They might make bad decisions as a result of peer pressure 39%
5. They might be bullied at school 34%
TOP PARENTAL WORRIES FOR KIDS DURING MIDDLE SCHOOL
1. They might make bad decisions as a result of peer pressure 48%
2. They might be cyberbullied 45%
3. They might encounter school violence 43%
4. They might be negatively influenced by the media 39%
5. They might be bullied at school 34%
TOP PARENTAL WORRIES FOR KIDS DURING HIGH SCHOOL
1. They might not get into a good college 41%
2. They’re stressed from school work 39%
3. They might struggle with mental health 39%
4. They might have unsafe sex 38%
5. They spend too much time in front of screens 37%
TOP PARENTAL WORRIES FOR KIDS DURING COLLEGE
1. They spend too much time in front of screens 44%
2. .They’re stressed from school work 41%
3. They might encounter school violence 38%
4. They might start doing drugs 34%
5. They might start drinking while still underage 33%