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Parents and kids use of social media

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 26 Oct 2011

Been asked by Serena, our Manager of Members, if we have any data about use of social media by parents and kids. I've found a little but keen to hear of any more...

Web to Classroom Workshop

Helen Wheeler © Australian Museum

We know that social media is pervading all our lives. This infographic from Inspired Magazine, The Current State of Social Media: The Big Four, says it all really!

The question is however, how are parents and kids (here I'm thinking those aged under 13 or so, that is, those not supposedly allowed to join Facebook) using social media?

Parents and Social Media

We did several studies last year looking at How Sydneysiders use social media and will go back to that data set to see if there is anything we can pull out for parents. We also conducted two similar studies in January and April/May 2010, sampling Museum visitors in Kidspace, our under 5s area, and search & discover, our hands-on space mostly visited by families. While I don't have accurate stats relating specifically to parents, I can confidently state that the majority of those surveyed would have children so I think the data is valid. Here's the results from the January and April/May surveys.

In a quick search on NielsenWire, came across this study, Friends, Following and Feedback: How We’re Using Social Media, which states: "... parents are more likely than non-parents to use social media for almost every thing, with dating being the exception. Parents are 26 percent more likely than non-parents to visit social networks to play games, 23 percent more likely to use as a creative outlet and 20 percent more likely to use for entertainment."

Kids and Social Media 

I found this a bit harder to get information on. My experience in working with kids, especially over the past nine years through our Kids Colleges, demonstrated to me time and time again that kids are active users of the web, and I would suspect social media. As for little ones (aged under 13), I'm not so sure but do have my suspicions. I did find this from NielsenWire A Pocket Guide to Social Media and Kids which, while two years old now, still has some useful ideas about kids use of digital media and phones. 

Brand awareness

Serena also asked about using social media for brand awareness - here's a really useful set of case studies from Mashable, 5 Brands That Are Surprisingly Successful on Facebook, that I believe have relevance to parents (and kids too - Oreos, Nutella and Converse being cases in point!). NielsenWire also did an interesting post about mums, Understanding the Modern American Mom, stating that "Moms with kids under 18 are 19 percent more likely than the general population to engage in social networking, and even more likely to become a fan or follow a brand (31% more likely) ...". One of NielsenWire's latest posts, How Social Media Impacts Brand Marketing, sets out some useful stats. 

Final thoughts

So, what does this all mean? I've tweeted out to our community asking for any other studies/reports that cover this topic. Ths is also a very timely question as we're about to go into the field with a Smartphone survey that I will now add some of these questions to.

Love to hear if you can add to this discussion and will keep you posted about what we find.

1 comment

Lynda Kelly - 7.10 AM, 27 October 2011

Bit off topic but this is good reading - Kids with smartphones: What's the right age?

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