The Venus and Mars factor apparently extends to how parents use media as digital clay to mold family experiences. Fathers and mothers have markedly different opinions and practices around media as it pertains to entertainment, education and practical applications.
Ipsos Media CT's new LMX Family study found that moms are more wary and cautious than dads when it comes to their kids’ (ages 6-12) use of media and technology. While 75% of moms versus 64% of dads believe that technology has made the world more dangerous for kids, dads (18%) are nearly twice as likely as moms (10%) to agree that technology has made the world safer for kids.
Donna Sabino, SVP of Ipsos Media CT, tells Marketing Daily that the results come from a survey conducted this February of 2,118 people with children between the ages of 6 and 12. "This generation of young parents have really grown up with technology; it's seamless for them. They are using it as a fun, convenient way to spend time together." She adds that tablets are a leading platform for co-viewing online video. "It is a primary way parents participate with kids," she says.
And that, per the study, sets the tone for how moms and dads approach family use of media in general. Nearly all fathers spent more time watching live TV with their kids, while moms were somewhat less likely to do so (97% versus 92%, respectively). When it came to TV content, dads were more laissez faire than moms.
For example, dads were significantly more likely than mothers to co-view channels like ESPN, Comedy Central, Adult Swim, Discovery Channel and USA Network with their 6- to-12-year-old kids. Moms were more likely than dads to be found watching more traditionally wholesome fare like Disney Junior and PBS with them.
The same holds true with the Internet. Ninety percent of dads versus 84% of moms go online with their kids. Dads more than moms went to Web sites like Google, YouTube, iTunes and Yahoo with their kids -- not to mention sports, gaming, and companion sites for their favorite TV shows.
"Dads, in general, have a much more positive view of technology; they are less afraid of the dangers they know exist," says Sabino. "They are more willing to let kids experiment. And dads are more interested in finding content they can enjoy with their kids."
Dads are also more likely to play digital and console games with kids, with 89% saying they played video games with their kids in the week prior to the survey. Ironically, while 84% of fathers were familiar with the ESRB video-game rating system compared to 79% of moms, more dads than moms allow their 6- to-12-year-olds to play T- (Teen) (40% vs. 32%) and M- (Mature) (15% vs. 10%) rated games. Same drill at movies: dads (21%) were more comfortable than moms (16%) allowing their children to see R-rated movies with them.