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Study: 75% Millennial parents keep children off social media

February 28, 2023

Millennials have ripped up the parenting rulebook when it comes to raising their own Gen Alpha children, according to a study by kids and family insight company Beano Brain.

Findings from the year-long study based on more than 200-hours of face-to-face interviews and a survey of 2,000 parents are published in a white paper titled Raising Gen Alpha: How Millennial Parenting is Impacting the Next Generation by Beano Brain.

Previously derided as the ‘snowflake generation’, millennial parents are now aged from 27 – 40 and are raising their own Gen Alpha kids (born since 2010) very differently from the style of their own Generation X parents.

The data has revealed a generational shift in parenting ethos from “do as I do” to “fix what we did” as Millennials step into parenthood with real purpose but with an overwhelming feeling of being under scrutiny both in real life and via social media – making these digital natives often digitally nervous.

Helenor Gilmour, Director of Insight and Strategy, Beano Brain, said: “What is abundantly clear from this, our latest dive into Generation Alpha, is that Millennials – a much maligned and parodied generation – are stepping into the role of parents with the planning, purpose and the professionalism they apply to their next career move. However, this laser focus and determination to be the best parent is bringing with it unique pressures.  Millennials are really the first generation to raise their children in the full glare and judgement of social media.  And there is an overwhelming feeling of parenting under pressure, subject to the scrutiny of others in real life or by comparison on social media.

“Raising Gen Alpha has revealed a new era of parenting rituals which will determine which brands Millennial parents will engage with and turn to for help. This affects everything from workplace parental policies to parents seeking out products with mental health benefits. Parents want brands to help them help their children be citizens of the future but shouldn’t forget to be playful and fun with a renewed focus on happiness as an end goal,” added Gilmour.

The study revealed that Millennial parents are professionally parenting like no other generation before them. From planning the route to parenthood to actively selecting the parenting style they want to adopt.

Some 69 per cent of Millennials waited until they were married or living with their partner before having children and 34 per cent of Millennial parents actively planned and researched when would be best to have children, compared to only a quarter of Gen X parents.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of Millennial parents have read up and selected a parenting style vs 37 per cent of Gen X – this is especially important for Millennial Dads (54 per cent).

The Goldfish Bowl:

Millennials are more likely to seek out advice online than Gen X parents, but this brings new levels of pressure, with 42 per cent of Millennial parents feeling under pressure to keep up with their peers while only 26 per cent of Gen X parents state the same.

Millennial parents feel the effects of influencers, with 45 per cent stating that celebrity influencers “make them feel bad”.

Having grown up in a social media goldfish bowl, these digital natives are more digitally nervous for their own children with 75 per cent of Millennial parents trying to keep their children off social media for as long as possible. And 35 per cent of Millennial parents believe that a child’s digital footprint should be erased once they turn 18 – rising to 45 per cent of Millennial Dads.

Being Present:

As Millennial parents reflect on missed moments and conversations that took place in their own childhood homes, they are eager to ensure they are present in all areas of their child’s life at any given moment – 77 per cent of parents are prioritising time with the children over careers.

Millennial mums, rather than dads (59 per cent vs 49 per cent), are more likely to be putting their career on hold or giving less attention to work to focus on raising children. 62 per cent of Millennial dads say they share parenting duties equally with their partner but only 43 per cent of Millennial mums say the same.

The Millennial dad is more emotionally present than ever but is yet to improve physical presence. In fact, Millennial dads are no more likely than Gen X dads to actually prioritise time with their children over their careers.

Schools Out:

Millennial parents are increasingly pushing back against formalised education and there’s a growing belief that traditional routes into careers and, indeed, life are no longer the only way to raise modern adults.

57 per cent of Millennial parents believe that schools are not preparing children to be citizens of the future compared to 47 per cent Gen X. Some 8 per cent of Millennial parents are home schooling and 36 per cent would consider it. Only 12 per cent of Millennial parents say they want their child to attend university (38 per cent of the 18-year-old UK population is currently at university).

Freedom Lost:

65 per cent of Millennial parents feel that their children don’t have the freedom to roam as they did as a child and 55 per cent fear the negative influences of social media.

Happiness as a Career Goal:

81 per cent of Millennials think it’s more important to be happy than to be “successful”.

45 per cent of Millennial mums believe that being mentally healthy is important versus just 31 per cent of dads.

Raising Saviours:

Parents are acknowledging that theirs, and previous generations, have contributed to the global problems and so they give their full support to their Gen Alpha children who are standing up and speaking out for what they believe in.

53 per cent of Millennial parents believe that this generation will help solve the problems caused by previous generations. This theme is rooted firmly in parents’ fears for the planet and the world their children are inheriting.

Gilmour concluded: “The desire to be present and their democratic approach to parenting means that Millennials are enjoying a super close relationship with their Gen Alpha offspring. Encouraged to participate in family life as stakeholders and opinion formers, Gen Alpha have huge influence on not just family purchases but also on the entire family ethos. Their individuality is celebrated by their parent, meaning that Millennial parents are more likely to encourage their children to stand up for their beliefs. Frustrated by authority, they are pushing against the traditional symbols of success and authority and prioritising happiness and fulfilment for themselves and their children.  And they will abandon systems, structures, and authorities they don’t agree with or respect and simply find their own way.”


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