- Parents said they take an average of 23 photos of their children a week.
With the help of their phones, today’s parents can engage in lively discussions on Mumsnet, listen to a deluge of podcasts, or find a sea of advice on everything from sleep schedules to weaning.
All of this has left them wondering how children were raised before smartphones were invented.
A survey has found that 43 per cent of parents don’t know how the mothers and fathers before them got by without cell phones.
Sixty-one percent of the 1,000 parents surveyed believe that their smartphone is one of the most useful tools in raising their little one.
A generation ago, moms and dads might have turned to a well-worn manual, but the survey shows they now average 78 web searches a week for childcare tips and answers.
A survey has found that 43 per cent of parents don’t know how the mothers and fathers before them got by without cell phones. [Stock Photo]
Some of the respondents admitted to seeking help on the Internet more than 50 times a day. Parents also said they used their phones to take an average of 23 photos of their children a week.
The survey of parents of children aged six and under was carried out by OnePoll and commissioned by the Three UK mobile phone network.
It follows a study of 270 mothers with children as young as six years old last year in which many said they felt supported by parenting content on Instagram. But others told University of Copenhagen researchers that using the site could make them feel guilty, judged or worried that their child has missed key developmental milestones.
The latest survey found that some parents are members of ten or more WhatsApp, Facebook or chat groups that contain other parents.
Seeking moral support, some sent messages to other parents, such as a friend, relative or colleague, an average of 11 times a week, the survey found.
Two-thirds of parents said they found mobile phones useful for taking photos and videos of their children at cute moments, while more than half said they were useful for shopping for baby-related items or researching childhood illnesses.
About 34 percent said their phone helped them play white noise, a sleep aid. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said their device had helped them through really difficult parenting times.
But the research also revealed that 39 percent had exceeded the data allowance in their phone contract.
Some parents surveyed admitted to seeking help on the Internet more than 50 times a day. [Stock Photo]
A study of 270 mothers with children as young as six last year said they felt supported by parenting content on Instagram. [Stock Photo]
Only 19 percent of non-parents were found to have used too much data in a separate survey of 2,000 people.
Three recently doubled its data donation to the National Databank, an initiative run by the Good Things Foundation that provides free data to those who need it.
Three has now pledged two million gigabytes to charity. Professor Ellie Lee, director of the Center for Parenting Culture Studies at the University of Kent, who was not involved in the survey, said: “All the evidence confirms that parents and parents-to-be are increasingly using online apps and advice.” – and indeed are encouraged to do so, including by the health service.
‘When it comes to well-worn childhood issues where there is a consensus on what to do, or to have conversations with other parents, this can be an accessible and reassuring resource.
“The problem is not the phones themselves, but a culture that tells parents all the time that everything that happens from conception onwards will have a lifelong impact if they don’t get it right.
“Continuous advice-seeking tells us that, in general, parenting is much more paranoid than it should be, and that’s a problem.”