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NortonLifeLock Study: Majority of Parents Say Their Kids' Screen Time Has Skyrocketed During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Parents Express Concerns About Cyber Safety Risks As Children Spent 52% More Time A Day In Front Of Screens On School Days1

TEMPE, Ariz.--()--NortonLifeLock (NASDAQ: NLOK), a global leader in consumer Cyber Safety, released today findings from ‘Screens & Quarantine: Digital Parenting in a Pandemic,’ a new study revealing how the current pandemic has impacted children’s at-home screen time, device access and parents’ concerns around Cyber Safety. The study underscored that nearly 7 out of 10 parents (69%) said that their child’s screen time has heightened during the pandemic, with around 3 in 5 feeling they have no choice but to allow it (60%) and that they accept certain risks to their child’s online safety to keep them entertained and occupied (57%).

“This study shows parents like me are not alone in struggling to find ways to keep our children safe and entertained during the pandemic,” says Kevin Roundy, technical director, NortonLifeLock. “With fewer social gatherings, schools adopting distance learning, and many parents working from home, it comes as little surprise that parents have had to shift their kids’ activities to digital devices. However, all of this unsupervised time spent on devices leads to an influx of Cyber Safety risks that parents should be aware of, including device hacking, location tracking, and risk from online predators.”

Conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll, more than 1,000 U.S. parents of children ages 5-17 were interviewed for the study, revealing nearly half (49%) have had to abandon some, if not all, of their previous rules for screen time. The study found children are spending roughly 1.5 more hours in front of screens per day on school days, excluding time spent for school purposes – a 52% increase1 in screen time compared to prior to the outbreak.

Almost 7 in 10 parents (67%) indicated that their child’s unsupervised screen time has increased due to the pandemic’s effect on work and school. Among those who said their child’s screen time has skyrocketed during the pandemic, prominent reasons include keeping their child entertained and occupied (70%) and giving their child a way to connect with friends and family (52%).

Additional findings from the NortonLifeLock Screens & Quarantine: Digital Parenting in a Pandemic Study include:

  • Nearly 2 in 3 parents (63%) have indicated that they have lowered their standards for appropriate screen time because of the pandemic. To note, more than half of parents (52%) said that they were worried that they were not setting a good example because they spend too much time on their own devices.
  • Some parents are purchasing devices for their child because of the pandemic. Around 3 in 10 parents have purchased a device (tablet (33%), gaming console (31%), smartphone (30%) or laptop/PC (26%) for their child during the pandemic.
  • As screen time skyrockets and socialization moves online, parents are inevitably concerned about their child being exposed to cyberbullying (61%), especially those of middle school aged children (11-13 years) (69%).
    • Parents are also concerned about other aspects of their child’s online safety including: online predators (67%); location tracking (66%); online accounts being hacked (60%); and family’s devices being infected by viruses (50%).
  • Some parents are accepting the risks without realizing the consequences. With 3 in 5 parents (60%) feeling they have no choice but to allow their children to have more screen time, nearly a third of parents (31%) don’t always read privacy policies when downloading an app or service for their child.
    • Nearly half of parents (48%) said they don’t always read privacy policies because they have no choice but to accept them in order for their child to use the app or service. In addition, 77% say that they would be more willing to read them if they were given choices about how their child’s personal information could or could not be used. However, 65% of parents said there have been times they’ve chosen not to download a certain app or allow their child to use a specific service solely based on the privacy policy.
  • Parents across the country face challenges when it comes to juggling work and/or home responsibilities and caring for their children.
    • Parents appear to be searching for answers with nearly 7 in 10 wishing there was a better way to monitor their child’s screen time (70%) and that they knew more about how to keep their child safe online (69%).
    • Most parents (60%) are concerned they don’t have enough time to keep track of what their child is doing online, particularly parents who are employed (64% vs. 49% of those who are not employed). But, regardless of employment status, nearly 3 in 5 parents (58%) feel guilty about the amount of time their child spends online.
    • Parents who are employed (71%) are more likely than those who are not (58%) to say unsupervised screen time has increased.

NortonLifeLock helps families to more safely explore our connected world with products like Norton 360 and Norton Family, and by providing education, tools and resources in concert with National PTA and other organizations. For more information and tips, please visit the NortonLifeLock blog at and

About the NortonLifeLock Screens & Quarantine: Digital Parenting in a Pandemic Study

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of NortonLifeLock from August 4-7, 2020 among 1,002 parents of children ages 5-17. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, household income, education, and size of household where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

About NortonLifeLock

NortonLifeLock Inc. (NASDAQ: NLOK) is a global leader in consumer Cyber Safety. NortonLifeLock is dedicated to helping secure the devices, identities, online privacy, and home and family needs of nearly 50 million consumers, providing them with a trusted ally in a complex digital world. For more information, please visit

1 2.9 hours before the pandemic vs 4.4 hours during.


Jenna Torluemke
NortonLifeLock Inc.
(415) 767-7800

Christine Kim
Edelman for NortonLifeLock
(415) 712-3409

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