Recent Survey Data Suggests Parents Are Using Apps as Digital Babysitters

The Pew Research Center regularly pools US consumers on all sorts of things from gadgets to buying habits. One recent poll involved app buying habits of smartphone and tablet owner. It turns out that watching videos isn’t the only activity that shifted from TVs to tablets.

The survey results found that parents who owned tablets (or a smartphone) were more likely to download apps for use by a kid (57% vs 16%). Parents were also more likely overall to download apps when compared to non-parents (84% vs 69%).

Pew has more details:

Our data does not show differences by race, ethnicity or income in downloading apps for children. However, recent work done by Common Sense Media suggests that there may be what they term an “app gap,” where higher-income families (47%) are more likely to download apps and use them with their children than lower income families (14%). The Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America report suggests this is partly due to lower levels of  smartphone and tablet ownership among poorer families, but also because low-income parents are less likely to even know what apps are.

It might be something of a stretch, but I think there’s a good chance that parents really are using apps to distract kids. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, in small doses.

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