Next Generation of Parents Will Rely Less on Tech, as New Research Reveals Gen Z’s Drift Away from Digital

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Chicago, IL, January 24, 2020 – America’s newest generation of parents, Gen Z, the oldest of whom are 23, are relying less on technology as a parenting tool as compared to the older Millennials. The younger generation’s use of tech as parents is more targeted and pragmatic than the widespread and all-embracing tech-habits of Millennial parents.

As digital natives, Gen Z shows a surprising lack of tech-enthusiasm. To that end, according to the recently released study on the next generation of parents by Ignite 360 and Collaborata, more Gen Zers than both Millennial and Gen X parents say that they will limit their kids’ screen-time.

“Yes, this might surprise people who think Gen Zers are glued to their phones all day and have some sort of innate desire to pass along this behavior to their kids. But they’re actually less tethered than Millennials and are even more strategic in how and when they use tech,” explained Collaborata VP Ben Graham.

According to Collaborata and Ignite 360, only 15% of Gen Z characterize their parenting style as “hands-off.” Explained Graham, “Gen Z has a visceral understanding of the potential problems that come with an over-reliance on screens. They want to be hands-on parents and not just dump their kid in front of a TV or tablet.”

“Significantly fewer Gen Zers believe that technology is making life better, compared to Millennials and Gen Xers. However, Gen Z leverages social media –- individuals, communities, vloggers, websites — which expose the Gen Z mom to a range of parenting approaches and are touchpoints to reach her,” explained Nate Depies, Ignite 360 VP of Insights.

More than half (53%) of Millennials, compared to only 39% of Gen Z, say they are one of the first to buy new tech products, reflecting Gen Z’s wariness to buy products that don’t yet have a proven track record. More Gen Zers than either Millennials or the older Gen Xers, even say that they prefer to wait for the second or third generation of a tech product.

Gen Z’s mindset around tech also extends to their attitudes and behaviors around social media. Millennials are more active on most social media platforms compared to Gen Z.

“Gen Z grew up in a world where their social lives and tech were completely intertwined. Millennials remember life before social media, and even the internet, leading to a deep appreciation, and heavy reliance, on these advances,” said Graham. “Gen Z doesn’t see what all the fuss is about since tech has always been part of their lives. Instead of diving into all things tech headfirst like Millennials, they prefer to take a more pragmatic, arms-length approach.”

One Gen Z mom who participated in this study espoused a typical Gen Z parenting approach: “Today it seems like the norm is giving kids whatever they want so they don’t cry, and I’m not that mom. I will leave a cart full of things at the store and walk out if my kids aren’t behaving. I don’t simply give them what they want. No means no, and bedtime is bedtime.”

Young Gen Z parents are proud to put their foot down, the research found. Some of this attitude is likely a direct reaction to their own upbringing, as 50% of Gen Z parents say they are raising their children in a very different way to how they were raised. Only 30% of Gen Z say they are raising their kids in a highly similar way to their own upbringing.

“Gen Z brings a pragmatic positivity and a personalized approach to parenting. This practical optimism contrasts with the idealized optimism of Millennials, and the cynicism of their own Gen X parents. The Gen Z mom is intentional in her parenting approach, reflecting on how her parents parented and deciding what worked and didn’t, to arrive at a unique philosophy,” states Depies.

Gen Z is also relying on a wider range of information sources for parenting help than are Millennials, including both online and offline resources. Not surprisingly, they rely on their own parents and medical professionals to play an important role in providing parenting advice.

“More Gen Zers rely on advice from health care professionals and medical websites, as well as their friends and family, than Millennials and Xers. Millennials are often skeptical of traditional information sources, while Gen Z is trending toward being more receptive,” said Graham. “Additionally, Gen Z understands how to evaluate user-generated product reviews and parenting blogs, deftly avoiding the fake and misleading reviews.

When Gen Z does use social media, they do so with a purpose. “They’re not randomly asking the Twitter-verse for parenting advice,” said Graham. “Instead, they find those who have become experts.

“So don’t expect Gen Z to rush to buy the latest and greatest tech tools for their kids, and don’t expect them to raise their kids like how they were raised,” explained Graham. “While they’re extremely open to a wide variety of parenting tools and techniques, they don’t want to test these products on their kids – they’d rather find products that already have a clear proven track record of success. They understand better than most that there’s a glut of content, a massive amount of options for them to buy. They know that not every app is worth a download and that there’s someone else out there to try it first.”

Gen Z Moms: A Strategic Look at the Next Generation of Parents, powered by Collaborata, surveyed 1,800 parents, across three generations. The research was conducted in the fall of 2019 by research and strategy agency Ignite 360 and was released this past week on Collaborata, a platform that launches original market-research studies.

Generation Nation, conducted by and in partnership with research firms Quester and 747 Insights, several large consumer brands and not-for-profit organizations, surveyed 4,012 Americans 13-to 71, selected to be representative of four generations: Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomer). The research was conducted in August 2019 and released this week on Collaborata. The next wave of Generation Nation is planned for released this spring.

About Collaborata: Collaborata is the first global platform connecting corporate clients to fund large-scale research projects, conducted by subject-matter experts. Founded in 2016, the firm has already launched more than 50 original and ambitious studies. Clients include world-class brands, top marketing agencies, and innovative NGOs. To learn more, visit www.collaborata.com.

About Ignite 360: Ignite 360 is an insights and strategy firm that delivers breakthrough thinking and actionable results to Fortune 500 companies and growing
organizations. Taking a holistic 360° approach, Ignite 360 provides companies with a unique level of intelligence and empathy by tapping into the hearts and minds of their customers. Ignite 360 is headquartered in San Francisco. To learn more, visit ignite- 360.com.

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Jimmy Zollo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Collaborata -- a Chicago-based tech startup serving the insights and marketing research world. Collaborata is the first-ever platform that enables organizations to share research costs and insights. Collaborata was a finalist for the 2017 Midwest Digital Startup of the Year, the 2016 Insight Innovation Award and has been featured on Business Insider, BuiltInChicago, Greenbook, Quirks, Research Live, MRWeb, and Market Research World. For more information, please visit: http://www.collaborata.com Jimmy developed his passion and enthusiasm for the Chicago tech community, while driving growth at GrubHub for four years. He helped develop GrubHub's industry-leading restaurant network, traveling across the country to launch new markets and grow existing ones. Following GrubHub's IPO and merger with Seamless, Jimmy transitioned to the corporate team, leading partnerships between GrubHub and many of Chicago's leading law, consulting, tech, and marketing firms.

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