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Is Your Son Getting Special Treatment With Smartphones and Video Games?

Boy with tablet
Parents choose different techniques based on gender when it comes to raising their child—but they might not always realize it.

Recent research revealed that parents lie more in front of boys and that girls are unintentionally discouraged from pursuing math and science. Now a new study has determined that a parent's technology choices are also influenced by gender.

PlayScience gathered information for their Parents and Platform Perceptions survey about digital devices and a child's usage. The survey focused on 501 parents with children between the ages of 2 and 9; parents were asked which devices they owned, which ones their child had access to, when and why their child used them, and their own attitude toward the devices.

The survey showed that parents preferred their children to use tablets—especially children's tablets—far more than smartphones. Parents perceived tablets to be four times more educational that smartphones, and children's tablets to be six times more educational than smartphones.

Interestingly, gender differences became most pronounced when it came to child-friendly technology and video game use. Thirty-percent of parents allowed girls to use devices based on how "child-friendly" they were considered, compared to only 17 percent of parents with boys. Parents were also more likely to allow boys to use the device of their choice.

As for video game and smartphone usage, parents were three times more likely to allow them for boys. According to BetaBoston, parents "were also slightly more likely to use technology to manage the behavior of boys, such as getting them to go to bed or calming them down when they're upset."

"Ironically, parents have distinct and very different perceptions about devices, even when they have almost identical content," said J. Alison Bryant, MD, co-chief executive and chief play officer at PlayScience. "This study puts parents on notice to be more attentive to their attitudes and behaviors about their children's media use."

What do you think? Are you protective of your daughter's technology use? Or are you more likely to let your son choose his favorite device?

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She's a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Setting Limits on Technology

Image: Boy using tablet via Shutterstock