There was once a day when we as a society didn’t know what everyone else was doing, asking, and thinking. But today is not that day.
Now we have this wonderful, complicated tool called Google that tells all. What are the most popular restaurants around? What do people think of this new show? Why can’t my kids just play quietly?? It’s (mostly) all there!
But what’s especially fascinating is finding out what families are asking Google most. Thankfully, Google itself is here to help! This year, the company updated it’s Google Family report about parents, kids, and the internet - including the most searched questions.
Google may be a trove of information, but as anyone who has hit “enter” on a search knows, finding the actual treasure of a good answer is hard.
That’s why we’ve not only compiled the biggest family questions, but we have answers too - along with the best resources around to help you find your way.
How much screen time is too much for my kids?
For any parents wondering “is it just me that’s worried about screen time?” you can rest assured the answer is no.
This year, Google showed a 217% increase in the number of searches for this question. As learning moved from the classroom to the screen, it’s no wonder that parents have begun to ask how much screen time is too much screen time.
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, the simple answer is that screen time should be avoided for children under 2 years old and families with older kids should aim for less than two hours a day.
Beyond this, there’s plenty of resources out there that may claim to have the definitive answer for your family. However, the reality is that every child and every family is different. Here at COSMO, we always encourage families to start simple by:
How do I keep my kid safe online?
There’s no denying that the internet can be a scary place. In recent years, the prevalence of inappropriate content has skyrocketed, not to mention challenges from online interaction like social media addiction and cyber bullying. That’s why Google reported a 221% increase in searches for this question.
While it may feel overwhelming, the good news is, there are lots of things parents can do to be proactive and guide kids toward safety. In an interview with Safety.com, internet and child online safety expert Frank Gallagher helpfully reminds us that “The most important thing a parent can do to help keep their children safe online is to have an ongoing conversation with them about technology.” Here at COSMO, we recommend these simple but effective steps toward keeping kids safe online:
When should I get my kid a cell phone?
Think of this: just 10 or so years ago, this might not have been a big question. But today, it’s grown in year-over-year Google search activity by 152%.
We’re more device-dependent today than ever before, and that trend extends to kids. In fact, as far back as 2019, more than half of kids in the U.S. owned a smartphone by age 11. What’s somewhat shocking is that, until recently, parents had very few alternatives to cell phones for staying connected to kids. Thankfully, there are now kid-safe alternatives, but the critical question still remains.
As with other parenting questions, there is lots of advice, but ultimately only you can decide what’s right for your family. Here at COSMO, we always recommend these simple rules-of-thumb for parents who are googling away at this question.
> Use safe & age-appropriate devices like kids smartwatch phones as a starting point
> Build a collaborative “pathway” to help your kids understand the steps toward having their own cell phone
> Consider building a “device contract” with your kids with agreed-upon rules
> Help kids understand that cell phones are maturity-dependent instead of age-dependent
- An Age-by-Age Guide to Kids and Smartphones
- 10 Reasons Why a Kids Smartwatch is Better Than a Smartphone
- Common Sense Media
- START Smartphone Tool Kit
What are some fun learning activities for kids?
This probably sounds like something you’ve asked in the past year. With COVID turning the living room into the classroom and screens into learning centers, parents started looking for resources - A LOT. According to Google this question saw a mind-blowing 793% increase in search activity this year.
When it comes to finding an answer, the good news is that there’s no shortage of resources. And it’s also where finding the right balance of screens and analog solutions is key. Some of our favorite rules of thumb here include:
Go-To Resources:20 Fun Learning Activities for Kids to do at Home