Common Sense and SurveyMonkey Poll Parents on YouTube and Technology Addiction

Common Sense Media
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Key Findings:
Many Parents Don't Use or Know About YouTube Controls
Nearly Half of Parents Feel Their Child is Addicted to Their Mobile Devices
Many Parents Have Concerns About the Impact of Tech on Kids' Mental Health

SAN FRANCISCO — Common Sense, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in the digital world, and SurveyMonkey, the world's leading people-powered data platform, released the results of a new survey of parents on the subjects of YouTube and mobile device addiction.

Key findings of the survey include:


  • Among parents whose children watch videos on YouTube, a majority (62 percent) say their kids have seen inappropriate videos on the site.
  • A large majority (81 percent) see it as their job to prevent kids from seeing inappropriate videos. Only 10 percent believe that responsibility rests with YouTube.
  • Thirty-seven percent of parents have not used YouTube's parental controls, and another 22 percent didn't know YouTube offers parental controls.


  • Forty-seven percent of parents feel their children are "addicted" to their mobile devices. Only 32 percent of parents say the same about themselves.
  • Half of parents (50 percent) say they are at least "somewhat" concerned that their children's mobile device use is negatively affecting their mental health; nearly one in five parents (18 percent) say they are "extremely" or "very" concerned.
  • A large majority of parents (89 percent) say the primary responsibility for limiting children's time spent on mobile devices rests with parents and caregivers.

The purpose of these surveys is to keep a finger on the pulse of how parents are feeling so Common Sense can work with the tech industry, educators, and policymakers to help parents protect their kids in our ever-changing digital world.

Of the findings, James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense, stated, "Parental concerns about technology addiction and the content children are exposed to on devices is very real, yet parents feel that they alone are responsible for managing these issues. It would be nice if the tech companies would partner with parents in this effort. Based on these findings, YouTube could teach us all how to use parental controls. That would be a good, simple way to start."

Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey, said, "Mobile device usage is not only a regular part of most teenagers' daily lives, but it's also prevalent among 'tweens' and even children under 10 years old. This is increasingly important new territory for parents to navigate. For as much attention as technology addiction receives among adults, parents — particularly those with teenagers — are far more concerned about their children's device usage than their own."

The survey can be viewed in its entirety here.

This SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted January 25–29, 2018, among a national sample of 4,201 adults, including 1,024 parents with children under 18 years old. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus four percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States of people age 18 and over.

About SurveyMonkey
Founded in 1999 and based in San Mateo, California, SurveyMonkey is the world's leading people-powered data platform enabling curious individuals and companies — including 100 percent of the Fortune 500 — to have conversations at scale with the people who matter most. Whether it's a trend in the market, opinions of customers, or voices of employees, SurveyMonkey turns them into actionable data. As a pioneer of the industry, SurveyMonkey is a trusted platform for people to express their true feelings and opinions so organizations can uncover the "why" behind the data. SurveyMonkey's 750-plus employees throughout North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific are dedicated to powering the curious. For more information about SurveyMonkey, please visit

About Common Sense
Common Sense is committed to making kids the nation's top priority. We are a trusted guide for the families, educators, and advocates who help kids thrive. We provide resources to harness the power of media, technology, and public policy to improve the well-being of every child. Learn more at


SurveyMonkey press contact:
Teresa Brewer
[email protected]

Common Sense press contacts:
Corbie Kiernan
[email protected]

Lisa Cohen
[email protected]