Wisemetry Research: 76% of parents of 7- to 17-year-old children are concerned about the negative consequences prolonged use of electronic devices might have on their kids

The study was carried out by the Wisemetry Research between October 30th and November 4th 2020 and aimed to highlight the challenges caused by the mobility restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the SARS-COV-2 virus. The study touched on topics such as organising remote work, the care and education of children and gender imbalances in household chores, mechanisms people adopted to cope with isolation or habits that people wish to adopt or keep for the following 12 months.

What are the parents' main concerns during these times and how do they manage their children’s online schooling?

Women are more involved than men in the care and education of children

49% of respondents who have children aged under 18 years old stated that both parents are equally involved in their children’s care and education, while 46% said that the mother was more involved. Only 5% believed that the father was the one spending more time caring for and looking after the children. However, among those that stated that both parents are equally involved in caring for their children, women estimated an average of 9.5 hours spent with the child(ren) during an average workday, while men only estimated an average of 6.4 hours daily

63% respondents believe that during the lockdown they spent more time participating in their children’s formal education, a percentage similar across genders.

Almost two thirds of parents think rate the online schooling system/ method below their expectations

34% of parents of school age children believe that online schooling was managed below their expectations, while 26% consider it way below their expectation. Only 16% see it as (way) above their expectations.

76% of parents of 7-to-17-year olds are concerned about the negative consequences prolonged use of electronic devices might have on children

Almost 8 out of 10 parents say they are concerned about the negative impact long term use of electronics might have on their children. Among their main concerns is also their fear that, while being schooled online, their children will fall behind with regards to their knowledge level – 70% of parents interviewed somewhat or totally agree with that statement.

Over half of the parents interviewed state that the time of day when their child has online school is very stressful for them, women more often than men.

On the other hand, two thirds of parents consider themselves more aware of their children’s education level and of their emotional state regarding school as compared to before the pandemic.

Parents’ main need is reopening schools

When asked about what they would need to ease the burden of educating/ raising their children, most parents – over 40% - stated they wished schools reopened/ stayed open even during crisis situations.

  • 38% said a flexible work schedule would help, men needing it more than women
  • 17% need more understanding and flexibility from their employer/ manager
  • 22% believe less homework for children would be helpful
  • 20% would be glad to have someone in the household take care of the housework
  • Only 11% of those interviewed wished their partner were more involved in raising the children. The share of women holding this opinion is significantly higher than that of men – 5% of men as compared to 15% of women.

The need to spend more time caring for and supervising children was disproportionately felt by mothers

The study’s data confirms a trend already documented in other countries. Speaking about the United States of America’s situation, economist Martha Gimbel said that women are captive in their need to spend more time involved in household chores and caring for their children. Many end up feeling overwhelmed, tired, stressed and helpless (source: NPR.org).

The study was carried out online on a sample of 1000 respondents, of whom 411 had underage children, and 252 had school age children (7–17-year old’s). The sample is representative for the Romanian population of Internet users with regards to gender, age, and regions. The maximum sampling error is ±3.1%.

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