Parents Underestimate How Much Time Teens Spent Online During Pandemic

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.

A new study has found that parents significantly underestimated their teens’ social media use — especially girls’ — during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Although most parents and their teens spent more time together at home during the pandemic, this did not translate to a greater awareness of their child’s screen use,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Jason Nagata, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.

And screen time matters: Girls who spend a lot of time on social media are at increased risk for problems with body image and mental health, previous studies have found.

While parents overestimated their teens’ total recreational screen time, they underestimated how much of it was spent with social media and multiplayer video games (versus texting, video chats, and other uses), according to findings published in the journal Academic Pediatrics.

In addition, parents underestimated girls’ social media use more than boys’ social media use, the investigators found.

The study also found that parent/teen differences in estimates of social media use were greater in families of color, among single parents, and in low-income households.

“Parents should discuss screen use with their teens and develop a family media use plan,” Dr. Nagata said. “Discussions about time spent on screens, as well as types of screen use and content, may promote greater understanding among family members and help prevent adverse consequences.”

Source: HealthDay

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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