BabyCenter® Reveals Profile of 2013 Mobile Mom: Smartphones are Both a Help and a Hindrance to Her Parenting

"Nomophobia" Highly Prevalent Among Moms; 46% Admit Being Addicted to Their Smartphone
Since 2011, 75% More Moms Say Mobile Devices Are a Distraction from Parenting Duties

PR Newswire

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BabyCenter®, the #1 pregnancy and parenting mobile and web destination worldwide, today released its 2013 Mobile Mom Report, an update to a 2011 report and the latest installment in BabyCenter's 21st Century Mom® Insights Series. In partnership with Research Now, BabyCenter has revealed new insights surrounding moms' smartphone and mobile technology adoption, usage, and behaviors. The findings of this study were the result of an in-depth online survey of over 1,350 moms, women pregnant or with children up to 9 years old, and other adults.

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"What's most fascinating is that although mobile has proven to be a core utility for Mom, for the first time, she is admitting that it can distract from her parenting," says Mike Fogarty, SVP and Global Publisher at BabyCenter. "Still, she just can't stop reaching for her phone. One third of moms tell us they'd return home for their forgotten smartphone but not for their wallet. In prior reports, we clearly saw heavy mobile usage, but our latest study shows more of the reality of everyday use, both good and bad."

Leap from Leisure to Productivity
More than ever before, moms are using mobile devices for healthy and useful activities like seeking information, managing their family's needs, and maintaining schedules. Moms count on technology to stay organized; in fact, more than half say their smartphone is like their "backup brain."

In just two short years since the last survey was conducted, Mom's activities have migrated from leisure to productivity. In our latest study, 81% of moms reported using their smartphone to help her manage her day, an increase of 212% since 2011. In 2011, Mom's top activities were mostly about personal enjoyment: social media (72%), gaming (72%), weather (69%), listening to music and podcasts (53%), and shopping (42%). Now, her activities are about getting the job done; 60% use it for banking and finance, kids apps (52%), parenting social media (64%), productivity tools such as calendars (81%), searching for information (88%), and shopping (63%).

The Nomophobic Mom
Both nomophobia – the fear of being without mobile devices – and mobile anxiety syndrome are hot topics now, as mobile devices continue to become ubiquitous. According to the study, 87% of moms are using smartphones, an increase of 34% since 2012, and moms' tablet usage has doubled from 29% in 2012 to more than 60% in 2013. However, even though moms report conveniences from their mobile devices, a third say it actually distracts them from their parenting duties, an increase of 75% since 2011 (up from 18%).

"Smartphones provide Mom with much-needed access to friends, family, and the outside world when she might otherwise be restricted by her children's schedules," says Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and BabyCenter.com contributor. "Two in three (66%) moms reported that their smartphone helps reduce the isolation of motherhood and more than half said it brings her closer to others."

Sixty-nine percent of moms said that they love their smartphone and 46% said they're addicted to it. Smartphones are so vital to Mom's daily life that she checks it at every possible opportunity: while on the go (96%), shopping (95%), when watching TV (94%), in the car (94%), in the kitchen (91%), and in the bathroom (80%).

"Smartphones can be an important coping mechanism, as moms, especially new moms, may find difficulty adjusting to their new lives," adds Ludwig. "However, the extreme dependence on smartphones and mobile devices can become a complex syndrome, with characteristics similar to obsessive-compulsive disorders."

Being without her phone has caused so much dread that 29% of moms panic when their phone's battery dies while 14% feel bored and only 9% feel relaxed as if they're "off-duty." To always stay connected, 79% of moms sleep next to their phones, 80% check it before bed, and 84% check it again first thing in the morning. More than half of moms say they simply cannot live without it and that it has changed their lives.

Different Devices for Different Uses
Mom's smartphone is her "do everything" device, but it's not always her go-to. Depending on which device best fits her needs, Mom's preferences are different:

  • Social Media: Nearly 70% of moms prefer to access social networks on her smartphone, while only 17% prefer their tablet and 14% prefer laptops for their social fix.
  • Email: 58% of moms use their smartphone to read email, but 57% prefer the larger keyboard on their laptop for writing and responding to messages.
  • Entertainment: Half of moms use their tablet for watching TV and video, compared to only 31% who are most likely to use their laptop and 19% who are most likely to use their smartphone.
  • Information: Moms are divided on which device they prefer, but smartphones are at the leading edge – 42% of moms say smartphones are their device of choice for information, followed by laptops (31%) and tablets (27%).

When it comes to selecting a smartphone, moms prefer the iPhone over devices using the Android platform. Fifty-seven percent of moms have an iPhone (7% more than the general population), and 38% use Android (7% less than the general population).

For more information on the 2013 Mobile Mom Report, please visit http://www.babycentersolutions.com.

Methodology
For the 2013 Mobile Mom Report, BabyCenter partnered with Research Now to field an in-depth survey of more than 1,350 smartphone owners including 759 expectant women or moms with kids up to 9 years old as well as 600 other online adults (referred to as general population) using Research Now's e-Rewards panel. This research was compared to the BabyCenter 2012 Media Mom Report, an online survey based on 1,100 expectant women or moms with kids up to 9 years old compared to 1,400 other adults, and the BabyCenter 2011 Mobile Mom Report, an online survey based on 1,055 expectant women or moms with kids up to 9 years old compared to 907 other adults.

About BabyCenter®
BabyCenter® is the voice of the 21st Century Mom® and modern motherhood. It's the #1 pregnancy and parenting digital destination worldwide, reaching more than 35 million moms monthly in 11 languages across 14 owned and operated digital properties from Australia to India to China. In the United States, 7 in 10 babies born last year were BabyCenter babies. BabyCenter is the world's partner in parenting, providing moms everywhere with trusted advice from hundreds of experts around the globe, friendship with other moms like them, and support that's remarkably right at every stage of their child's development. BabyCenter also works with some of the world's most prominent brands and institutions to provide life-stage marketing solutions and a direct line to highly engaged moms. BabyCenter is a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.

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