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Baby in One Hand, Smartphone in the Other

Stay-at-home mothers skew higher than working mothers for time spent with digital

January 12, 2017 | Media

Mothers in general have a reputation as heavy digital users, whether they stay at home with their children or work outside the home. However, stay-at-home mothers spend more time on their digital devices, while working mothers have access to more devices, according to a new study from Nielsen. The study looked at how these two groups spend their time with media and the devices they own.

Weekly Time Spent with Social Media and Devices Among US Mothers, by Demographic, Q3 2016 (hrs:mins)

Stay-at-home mothers spend approximately three hours more on their PCs and two hours more on their smartphones per week than working mothers and take more time using their smartphones and PCs specifically for social media.

Stay-at-home mothers also spend much more time than working mothers with TV, no matter how they're watching. Nielsen reported that in total, each week stay-at-home mother TV viewers spent nearly five and a half more hours watching live TV and nearly an hour more with game consoles and multimedia devices than working mothers.

Working mothers, who are more likely to have higher income than stay-at-home mothers, tend to be more highly connected than stay-at-home mothers in terms of the range of devices and technologies they use.

Penetration of Select Devices/Technologies Among US Mothers, by Demographic, Q3 2016 (% of total)

Specifically, working mothers skew high for having a broadband internet connection and owning a PC or a tablet, as well as for using DVR and subscription video on demand, which allows them to view content when they're not at home.

Smartphones are the most common device for both stay-at-home and working mothers to own.

Beyond income, there are other demographic differences that may help skew how stay-at-home and working mothers consume media. According to Nielsen, working mothers tend to be slightly older, are more likely to have a college education and reside in a single-family home that they own than stay-at-home mothers.

While working mothers have the greatest proportion of non-Hispanic whites, stay-at-home mothers are more likely to be Asian or Hispanic.

—Alison McCarthy

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