While we cherish the approaching holiday season as the time of year to spend quality time with friends and family, busy moms treasure special moments of family togetherness each and every day. Visualizing today’s moms, the marketing images of time-pressured, over-stressed and economically stretched women tend to come to mind. However, the moments which are most salient to these hard-working moms are those daily opportunities when they can meaningfully connect with their children.
After a long day of commuting, working, cooking, cleaning, chores, etc., moms are exhausted and report sometimes lacking the physical and/or cognitive energy to come up with creative ways to help her engage and connect with her children. Frequently, today’s moms will use media and technology as a way to spend special time with her children.
For example, our LMX Family revealed more than nine in ten moms watched television with their children in the past week. The data further demonstrated both the adults and children are engaged during that experience. Its convenience makes television an important tool for moms. It is ready, easy to use and provides an experience they can both enjoy. Television can also act as a springboard to broader conversations. Whether discussing how a singer copes with nerves prior to his performance on “The Voice” or if the tablet computer they saw on the commercial would make a good gift for the family, television provides a setting that helps foster connections.
Not surprisingly, online provides another environment through which moms and kids come together. For this generation of communicators, digital media connotes connection. In fact, in the past week, more than 80% of moms have gone online with their children.
From YouTube to Facebook, parents love being able to share the greater world with their children. As we know, families use social media to stay in touch with one another. However, not only are moms friends with their kids on social networks, moms are introducing their children to it by sharing their profile pages with their children who don’t yet have their own. Moms take on the role of guide as they teach their children about the wonders and dangers of the online world.
Online experiences also afford moms a degree of content control which they appreciate. They are empowered to modify the privacy settings on social media sites their children may use. They prescreen and download desktop shortcuts for those sites their children are permitted to visit. Search functionality is crucial, as they seek specific pieces of information to help with homework, find a particular video they want to watch with her child or begin planning the next family vacation.
It may be surprising to some to discover that moms are also playing video games with their children. About three-quarters of moms report having played video games with their kids in the last week. Remember, many Gen X and Gen Y women grew up video gaming and, with user-friendly systems like Wii and Xbox 360 with Kinect, the world of gaming has grown far beyond the stereotypical hard-core gamer. In fact, moms report being very engaged when playing video games with their children. Music, party and exercise/active games have really motivated moms and their kids to play and have fun together. And isn’t that connection what wonderful memories are truly made of?