About eight in ten parents with children under 18 on 'traditional' social media apps worry about their children using video/image-sharing apps

New Aura/Ipsos poll finds that two in three parents with children on social media say their child has experienced a negative effect of social media.

The author(s)
  • Jennifer Berg Vice President in Ipsos’ U.S. Public Affairs Team
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Washington DC, September 14, 2023—New findings from an Aura/Ipsos poll reveal that two in three parents with kids on social media saying their child has experienced a negative effect of social media. Many parents are concerned about their kids using these services of becoming addicted to social media, receiving predatory messages, receiving or engaging in X-rated content or conversations, and talking to strangers. Although parental control features are available, only a few use them.

Detailed findings:

Parents of social media users under age 18 report the most used social media or services with chat features among kids under 18 include video streaming platforms (94%), gaming-related apps (75%), and video/image-sharing apps (73%). Less used services include interest-based chat/thread apps (30%) and microblogging apps (19%).

Parents report their children were more likely to start using gaming-related apps (61%), and video streaming platforms (58%) before age 10. Most who use video/image-sharing apps, interest-based chat/thread apps, and microblogging apps say their child started using the services as teenagers (51%, 51%, and 60%, respectively).

Parents worry more about their kids while on ‘traditional’ social media than gaming apps:

Most parents express at least a little concern about their children using each of these types of services. Parents are more likely to say that they are very or somewhat concerned about their children while using video/image-sharing apps (78%), microblogging apps (74%), or interest-based apps (67%) than gaming-related apps (51%) or video streaming services (49%).

These concerns are justified with about two in three parents with kids on social media saying their child has experienced a negative effect of social media (66%). The most reported negative experiences include addiction to social media (25%), sleep deprivation (24%), talking to strangers (21%), feeling anxious or depressed (15%), and decreased ability to concentrate (15%).

Although parental control features are available on social media only few parents use them:

Parents with children who use social media are most aware of parental controls on video streaming services (70%), less likely to say video/image-sharing apps (43%) and gaming-related apps (43%) have parental controls, and least likely to say microblogging apps and interest-based chat/thread apps have parental controls (18% for both).

Parents of children who use these platforms are most likely to say they use parental controls on video streaming services (50%), though these platforms have the least opportunity for social interaction. About one in three parents with kids using gaming-related apps (36%) and video/image sharing apps (29%) say they utilize parental controls, while about one in five utilize parental controls on microblogging apps (23%) or interest-based chat/thread apps (19%). When asked why they do not use these tools, most parents say they don’t use them because they trust their children to make good decisions (60%). Other reasons for the lack of utilization include a lack of awareness of these tools (29%) and ineffective parental controls (13%).


For more information on this news release, please contact:

Jennifer Berg

Vice President, US

Public Affairs +1 312 526 4224

[email protected]


About the Study

This Ipsos Poll was conducted August 4-6, 2023, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel® – a division of Ipsos. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 684 adults age 18+ who have to have a child under the age of 18 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The study includes a boost of n=500 parents with children who use social media. 

The survey was conducted using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®, which is the largest and most well-established online panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in these households are invited to join and participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®. For those potential panel members who do not already have internet access, Ipsos provides a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methods, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and provide fully representative online samples to the research community.

The study was conducted in English. The data for the total sample of adults with a child under 18 were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, and household income. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2022 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS). The weighting categories were as follows:

•    Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18-29, 30-44, 45-59, 60+)
•    Race-Ethnicity (White/Non-Hispanic, Black/Non-Hispanic, Other/Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, 2+ Races/Non-Hispanic)
•    Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
•    Metropolitan Status (Metro, Non-Metro)
•    Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
•    Household Income (under $25K, $25K-$49,999, $50K-$74,999, $75K-$99,999, $100K-$149,999, $150K and over)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of parents with children under 18. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.23. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent. 
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The author(s)
  • Jennifer Berg Vice President in Ipsos’ U.S. Public Affairs Team

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