60% of kids choose what to watch when co-viewing

Kids and parents have a closer relationship than they did in the past, with 84% of parents heavily involved in their children's screen time, a new ViacomCBS study finds.
February 12, 2020

Kids have a much more open and close relationship with their parents than in the past, and are being given more guidance and responsibility than past generations, according to a new study from ViacomCBS, which the conglom’s global consumer insights SVP Christian Kurz is debuting at Kidscreen Summit in today’s Today’s Parents, Tomorrow’s Kids session.

Now 72% of kids play a role in household decisions, which trickles down into how they co-view content, because kids are usually the ones get the final say on what to watch. In fact, 60% of parents said their child usually controls what’s on the TV when they’re watching it together.

Parents have become heavily integrated in all aspects of their kids’ lives, with 84% of them involved in their children’s screen time. This connection to kid’s device usage, and fears around how much they’re using it, has led 80% of them to say they limit their screen time as much as possible.

Parents are conflicted when it comes to screen time though, and 58% say they use it as a reward for good behavior. However, content creators don’t need to despair, because adults still like watching TV with their kids, and 84% of them said that watching TV together is a great for family bonding time. Moms and dads aren’t as sold on video games though, as 65% say they think playing video games can be good for a child’s development.

On top of this, parents are more involved in their kids life by playing with them. In fact, 55% of those surveyed said they play with their kids more than their own parents played with them when they were young. They also strongly believe in the educational power of fun, with 88% of them saying kids learn best through playing.

Watching all of this content together has led to parental appetite for content that also addresses the fears and hopes they have for their kids, and their top three worries are their child’s future (49%), their child’s mental health (43%), and in-person bullying (42%). In addition, the most important qualities they want their child to learn are respect and confidence, which both got votes from 47% of parents.

The survey also lays out parents’ predictions for Gen Alpha (and the youngest Gen Zers) about how they’ll differ from previous generations. Most adults say their kids will grow up to be more tech-savvy (65%), while just more than half say they’ll care more about the environment (59%), be more curious about the world (55%), intelligent (54%) and creative (53%).

Kids come first in households today, and content creators trying to connect with them should work to relieve the worries adults have for their children, while tapping into the young generation’s interests which set it apart, the study finds.

ViacomCBS surveyed 8,045 parents of kids under 12 from 16 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, UK and the US) for this study.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

About The Author
News editor for Kidscreen. Ryan covers tech, talent and general kids entertainment news, with a passion for kids rap content and video games. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at



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