Mom Consumers: Demographic Profile
Based on survey studies, mothers who use parental controls for their children’s online activities in the US tend to be white, near 40 years of age, married, have some college or a college degree, and are working- or middle-class. More details about these findings are available below.
- The research team obtained survey studies in order to assume parental control usage among US mothers:
- The first study (based in Pittsburgh) looked at parenting strategies for children’s online safety. This study found that 58.8% of its parent respondents used software monitoring as a parental control strategy. 89.1% of the respondents in the Pittsburgh study were female.
- In 2016, the Pew Research Center found that 39% of parents surveyed used parental controls for their teen’s online activities; 57.08% of the study participants were mothers (calculation is here).
- In 2019, the Pew Research Center found that 52% of parents used controls to restrict which sites teens could access; of parents who used parental control apps, 54% were mothers and 51% were fathers which represented a rather even split.
- The mean age of the parent participants in the Pittsburgh study was 40.8.
- In the 2016 Pew research study, 510 of the 1060 participants were under 45 years old and 550 were 45 and older, representing an almost even split.
- In the 2019 Pew research study, demographic analysis showed that 11.8% of parents were 18-24 years old, 17.4% were 25-34, 16.8% were 35-44, 16.2% were 45-54, 17.5% were 55-64, 14% were 65-74, and 6.4% were over 75. Please note this study panel was especially weighted for balance and there were no age-related parental control specifics discussed in the study report.
- 73.9% of the Pittsburgh study participants were married, 14.1% were divorced, 8.7% were never married, 7.6% were living with a partner, 5.4% were separated, and 1.1% were widowed.
- 35.9% of the Pittsburgh study respondents had a graduate degree, 29.3% had a bachelor’s degree, 7.6% had an associate’s degree, 19.6% had some college, and 7.6% had a high school degree or its equivalent.
- 38.4% of the 2016 Pew Research study respondents had a high school education or less, 28.87% had some college, and 32.74% had completed college.
- 75% of the Pittsburgh study respondents were white, 20.7% were black, and 1.1% were Asian.
- 63.4% of the 2016 Pew study were white (calculation); 11.23% were black, and 19.06% were Latino.
- 6.5% of the Pittsburgh study participants made $200,000 or more per year, 7.6% made $150,000-$199,999, 23.9% made $100,000-$149,999, 14.1% made $75,000-$99,999, 18.5% made $50,000-$74,999, 5.4% made $35,000-$49,999, 20.7% made $20,000-$34,999, and 7.6% made less than $20,000.
- 21.7% of the 2016 Pew Research study participants made less than $30,000 per year, 38.77% made $30,000-$74,999, and 39.53% more than $75,000.
After attempts to locate a comprehensive and direct US-based demographic analysis on mothers who use parental applications and software programs proved unavailable, the research team first attempted to locate demographics and usage figures based on top software programs. Using this strategy we were able to locate a very localized survey study based on parental control strategies used in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Participants in the study were installing Qustodio (a popular prenatal control app) in a paid, lab-based environment. Because this data was exceptionally local and the demographics reported in the study could be skewed by the city’s culture and atmosphere, the team sought to obtain a more national study of parental behaviors around controls (even though most of the participants were mothers). While we did find valuable data from the Pew Research Center on parental controls (2016 and 2019), the data was not focused strictly on mothers. However, as was the case with the Pittsburgh study, the majority of the respondents were women, and the team assumed the same rates for the respondent groups could be applied to the mothers in the study.
Additionally, please note that the Pew research and other sources in this report focus on parental control of adolescents/teens rather than all children.