STUDY: Most Think the Digital World Is Bad for Kids

A majority say "technology is ruining childhood"(!!)

A new survey published by marketing conglomerate Havas Worldwide is an extensive read on the changing state of the global family unit.

The headlining takeaway, though, provides some insight to PR firms specializing in tech: a majority of the survey’s 6,767 respondents around the world think that our increasing reliance on digital gadgets and media is not good for kids. Here’s the scare quote:

“…a majority of the people we surveyed around the globe believe that digital technology and the Internet are ruining childhood.

The full report is a bit more nuanced: for example, numbers vary widely on the above sentiment, with 70 percent of Indian natives agreeing and 75 percent of Japanese respondents disagreeing.

  • 53 percent around the world agree with the “ruining childhood” idea
  • 30 percent agree that “technology is ruining family life
  • 50 percent think that “unrestricted Internet access is a form of child abuse

Hold on, though: 52 percent also said that kids growing up without access to these things are at a notable disadvantage, a majority of Millennials think the “connected life” has made parenting easier, and respondents in every country would rather their kids be software engineers than “brilliant artists.”

The findings illustrate humanity’s very mixed feelings about the technology that surrounds us; they also reveal an opening for the companies best suited to address these concerns.

Havas also lists some brands that have capitalized on the current state of things, from Google releasing more educational products to J.Crew (literally) hiring a 5-year-old with nearly 500,000 Instagram followers to “help design a collection.”

What do we think? How can we use these findings to benefit our digital clients?

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: January 21, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT