Across a variety of concerns, the overuse of devices and screen time was the top concern for parents listed in the 2023 Top 10 Child Health Concerns for Parents, released by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National poll on Children’s Health.
Across a wide-ranging number of child health topics, device screen time and the use of social media are the top 2 most concerning for parents, according to an August 2023 edition of a C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
The poll represented a national sample of parents who rated their level of concerns from social media to bullying to smoking or vaping. Administered in February 2023, the poll used a randomly selected group of adults who are parents of at least 1 child aged 0 to 18 years, that was living in their household. The findings of the report are based on the responses from 2099 parents. According to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, the margin of error is ±2 to 5 percentage points.
Periodic reports from C.S. Mott regarding concerns for parents on a variety of health-related issues have been released since 2007. At the conclusion of this poll, the overuse of electronic devices and screen time is the top concern, with 67% of parents polled listing this as the ultimate concern. Below, find out the top 10 child health concerns for parents.
Several other concerns just missed the top 10, including 48% of parents concerned about obesity, 47% concerned about guns and gun safety, 47% concerned with a lack of mental health services, 45% concerned about poverty, 44% drinking or the use of drugs, and 42% concerned about abuse or neglect.
Parental stress (35%), unequal healthcare access (35%), misleading health information (31%), sexual activity/teen pregnancy (31%), discrimination (31%), unsafe neighborhoods (30%), gender issues (LGBTQ) (29%), and health risks due to polluted air and water (23%), are all aspects concerning parents, though outside of the top 10. According to the results, vaccine safety (18%), over-involved parents (13%), and COVID-19 (12%) are the least concerning aspects for parents.
A higher proportion of parents in low-income households (less than $50,000) view some issues as a “big problem,” including depression/suicide, unsafe neighborhoods, smoking or vaping, school violence, drinking or the use of drugs, teen pregnancy/sexual activity, child abuse/neglect, discrimination, parental stress, COVID-19, and health risks from pollution. For those in middle-income ($50,000-$99,999) and high-income ($100,000 or higher), the overuse of devices and social media are considered “big problems” by a higher proportion of parents. Similar ratings for concerns surrounding obesity, unhealthy diet, healthcare costs, and lack of mental health services exist across income groups among parents.
Overall, more than half of parents polled said mental health topics were a “big problem” for US children (depression, bullying, stress/anxiety). Almost half of parents said the lack of mental health services was a big problem, as limited access to mental health services and the mismatch of the growing number of youths with these concerns can result in short- and long-term well-being implications for the affected child.
Violence in school was a high-level of concern for parents polled, potentially due to direct experiences with fights, media coverage of school shootings, or a school shooting directly affecting them. School environments have also changed, such as the implementation of active shooter drills, potential metal detectors or the presence of armed guards.
Healthcare cost concerns have landed in the top 10 for the first time according to Mott Children’s. Policies related to the pandemic that required states to maintain Medicaid enrollment are ending, meaning parents that will no longer qualify must deal with the stress associated with finding coverage for their child(ren).
Overuse of devices and social media top parent concerns. C.S. Mott Children’s National Poll on Children’s Health. August 21, 2023. Accessed August 25, 2023. https://mottpoll.org/reports/overuse-devices-and-social-media-top-parent-concerns