In November 2017, the Early Learning Lab released NextGen Technology: Insights and Recommendations to Support the Parents of Children Ages 0-3. This report and the associated information gathering and interview process was funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, with the intent of exploring the current state of technology to support the parents of children ages 0-3 and to develop recommendations on parent technology.
The Early Learning Lab inventoried technology products and platforms used by parents, interviewed parents on their technology use, conducted two national surveys, and reviewed existing research to answer the following questions:
- How is technology currently being used to support parents of children 0-3?
- What improvements can be made to increase the effectiveness of technology in supporting this population?
This research resulted in six insights on parents’ needs, motivators, barriers, and use of technology, which are paraphrased below:
- Most parents first ask a friend or family member first if they have a question on their child’s development, and then use Google to find the answer to their question if they need additional information
- Parents have a preference for learning from other parents rather than parenting experts
- More parents accessed a smartphone in the previous week than a computer, implying internet access is more often done through a mobile device
- Parents are looking for “their own path” for parenting their child and actively seek information and guidance from many different sources
- Parents want their children to be happy and successful, suggesting messaging about social-emotional development could be most effective
- Parents find existing parent support services helpful, though the majority are not aware of local organizations that offer services
Based on these insights and research, the Lab recommends the following four action steps:
- For information provision, focus on online content and major distribution channels, rather than creation of new tools and apps
- Think expansively about the range of parents’ needs and how technology can meet them
- Help service providers incorporate technology into their programming
- Conduct further research with parents
GPG is proud to have provided support in developing the online interactive map of technology products based on the Lab’s technology inventory. The map shows parent technology products organized by Protective Factors to Promote Well-Being, with additional information on the tools, such as whether they are research-based and/or have published evidence of impact resulting from use; and their distribution channel, funding source, and estimated user count / number of downloads.