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Have you ever had the feeling that your mom was the strictest parent in the world? Clean your room! Wash the dishes! I expect you to be home by 9pm! Those are only a few examples of the sometimes annoying rules we had to follow daily, especially as teenagers. Despite that, we always knew that our mothers loved us, and were only enforcing these rules to help develop good habits, as well as protect us from the dangers of the physical world.
Being a mother nowadays is an even harder job. With all the technology surrounding their children, they have much more to be worried about. Apart from talking to their little ones and establishing rules, they often use specialized parenting tools to keep an eye on them.
On the occasion of Mother’s Day (May 8th), ESET has taken a deeper look at the results of its recent survey focusing on parenting in a digital era. We looked at how moms in the US, Germany, the UK and Russia are trying to protect their children and found out which nation is the strictest.
Western children have stricter rules
According to the figures, it seems that the biggest concern for mothers in all four countries is the use of social networks. In Western countries, they don’t allow their kids to sign up to popular online services prior to their 11th birthdays. Only Russian mothers seem to impose milder rules, allowing their offspring to create their own accounts around 8.5 years of age on average.
Today’s mothers also have to figure out when is the right time to give their children their first phones. American and British kids are among the last, receiving phones at a little over 10 years old. German children precede them only by a few months, getting their first phones at nine years and eight months.
Again, Russian mothers seem to be the most moderate, allowing their sons and daughters to have their own devices shortly after turning seven years of age.
The internet offers a lot of great stuff, but if surfing without supervision, children can also encounter inappropriate content or, in the worst case scenario, online predators. To counter this risk, mothers across all four countries are keeping an eye on their youngsters for almost the entire first decade of their lives.
To surf without mom looking over their shoulders, German children have to wait until they are 10.5 years old, compared with around 10 years in the US and the UK. To browse freely, children in Russia have to pass the 8.5 year milestone.
Only Russian dads are as strict as moms
“So what about fathers?” you might ask. Unsurprisingly, it seems they are the softer of the two. This is especially true in the US. No matter whether we’re talking about surfing the internet unsupervised, starting an account on a social network or getting a first mobile phone, American fathers allow their kids to do all of it a year earlier than mothers.
ESET’s survey has also observed the trend of a stricter moms and a softer dads in the UK, although with milder differences. They would let their little ones create a social network profile shortly after they reached 10 years of age, whereas mothers would do so 11 months later.
The survey has also shown more than half a year’s gap between moms’ and dads’ rules when it comes to surfing online without supervision, as well as giving their child thier first mobile phone.
The smallest difference was observed amongst Russian couples, as moms and dads were pretty aligned in what they thought was the appropriate age for all the aforementioned digital activities.
Our internet survey was carried out in January 2016 and focused on the attitudes of a demographically representative sample of around 1,000 individuals in the online populations of each of the following four countries: the UK, the US, Germany and Russia. UK, US and German data was provided by Google Consumer Surveys, while Russian data was provided by Merku.
Questions in the survey:
How old was your child when you allowed him/her to play on a playground without supervision?
How old was your child when you allowed him/her to surf the web unsupervised?
How old was your child when he/she first received a mobile phone?
How old was your child when he/she first opened an account on a social network?
Author Ondrej Kubovič, ESET