In Brazil, Parents Worry About Safety and Rely on Technology

Parents in Brazil see technology as an educational tool for their preschoolers. And it has the benefit of keeping kids entertained while safe at home.

Brazilian preschoolers spend more time with screens than kids in other countries, according to Little Big Kids: Preschoolers Ready for Life, Viacom’s recent study of kids ages 2 to 5 in 12 countries. Children in this age group spend 42 hours per week in front of screens – 50% higher than the global average of 28 hours.

Why are kids in Brazil spending so much more time with technology than kids in other countries? Here’s what we found:

Brazilian parents want their kids to be up-to-date with the latest technology. Among Brazilian parents, 62% believe it’s important for kids to keep up with tech development. Virtually all preschoolers have access to a TV set (97%) and a majority have access to a tablet (69%). These kids are splitting their time between TV and other devices, averaging 21 hours per week with each. On tablets alone, they average 1.5 hours per day.

They perceive tech as having a positive impact on kids’ development. Half of Brazilian parents (49%) say their kids use tablets for educational content. They are much more likely than parents elsewhere to use YouTube as a teaching tool for their preschooler (66% Brazil, 49% globally). And nearly 3 out of 4 (72%) think technology is making their kids smarter – well above the global average of 61%.

Their kids’ physical safety is a huge concern. When asked to identify their main concerns about their children’s future, 72% said “living in a violent society” – a clear top choice. Parents in Brazil don’t want their kids to be victims of crime and or to be enticed into criminal activity. Their other main worries are drugs and alcohol (65%), health problems (56%) and not getting a good enough education (46%).

Parents may be using technology to keep kids home in a controlled environment. Brazilian preschoolers spend 161% more time in front of screens than outdoors – nearly 3 times higher than the global average of 59%. While a majority of parents there encourage their child to play outdoors (69%), Brazil was among the lowest of the countries surveyed and below the global average of 76%.

The additional time kids spend with technology inspires other worries in parents. Parents in Brazil are slightly more likely to believe that too much time spent on devices can interfere with learning and development (59% Brazil, 53% globally). And having their kids come across inappropriate content is a major concern – 84% of Brazilian parents worry about this, compared with 61% globally.