Smartphones serve as escape, social tool for newly busy mothers of young children
In the past year alone, the number of US mothers using smartphones increased nearly 34%, BabyCenter reported in September 2013. Of this number, 46% of survey respondents said they felt addicted to their smartphones, always keeping them at their sides as “backup brains” while on the go.
In fact, according to a study from AOL, mothers are using their smartphones 11.4% more frequently than the average adult smartphone user, racking up 1,850 minutes per month with their phones.
Mothers with young kids (ages 5 and under) were the most active users, devoting almost 37 hours a week to apps and web browsing on their phones—more than mothers of older children, as well as males and females in general and, perhaps surprisingly, millennials. AOL noted that smartphones most likely helped these new mothers adjust to tasks related to their new role, including managing multiple schedules, connecting with friends they had not seen recently, and looking up symptoms—that is, fulfilling multifaceted roles mothers enact as parents, teachers, friends, doctors, and more.
Surprisingly, high usage is not necessarily because mothers are letting their kids share their mobiles—more than one-third reported rarely or never allowing their children to use their smartphones, while mothers said they turned to their phones over 20 times per day.
Instead, escapism (39%), social (23%), and shopping (12%)—the most popular functions among mothers glued to their mobiles, according to AOL—may be leading the charge. In September 2013, BabyCenter revealed that many activities related to such functions, such as using social media and looking at photos and videos, as well as those that helped mothers stay on top of the everyday—for example, checking the weather and managing productivity—surged in usage between 2011 and 2013. And US mothers’ smartphone activities didn’t stop with those categories. With the exception of sports and gaming, all activities saw a leap in usage, most likely due to the increasing amount of time mothers spend with their phones.