Parenting in a digital world


According to numerous surveys, the majority of families feel that digital technology complicates the transmission of values.

To educate is to transmit. Transmit knowledge, skills, history, culture. Transmit values to enable our children to become free, responsible and fulfilled adults. A role that families take very seriously, according to numerous surveys conducted in 2018 around the world.

Conducted in late 2017 – early 2018, this survey shows that fathers and mothers overwhelmingly (74%) took the time to reflect on the values to which they are attached.

Success and safety surpass tradition.

As the philosopher Roger-Pol Droit observes, the time is well and truly over when many were content to reproduce the educational practices of their parents mechanically. This does not mean, however, that we are witnessing a great upheaval. Thus, by comparing the primary values that respondents believe they have received and those they wish to transmit, we note a reasonably strong continuity.

When asked to mention several items, the majority of respondents consider that their education was marked by autonomy (58%) and kindness (55%). Two values that are at the top of the ranking, with 65% and 61% respectively, among those that these parents would like to inculcate in their offspring.

A strong continuity, therefore, but also ruptures. Thus, while 48% of parents feel that they have been handed down the tradition, only 36% see it as an essential aspect of education. Situated in the top three of the values received, tradition is left behind when it comes to mentioning the values to be transmitted first. It is overtaken by success (44%) and security (39%) and is now on a par with universalism.

A gap between the values of the family and those of society

However, in reality, if there is a break, it is above all between the values that families wish to transmit and those who seem dominant to them within society. The majority of parents say they are attached “to values that revolve around the independence of mind and attention to others. In their opinion, however, power and success (cited by 52% and 51% of respondents, respectively) take precedence outside the family circle.

From then on, education sometimes resembles a ridge path.” We can transmit values that we have anchored in ourselves, tell our children that we must not give them up, and at the same time teach them to live with people who have other points of view. Education also means allowing children to integrate into society, even if we do not share all its values.

Parents remain the first educators.

In any case, 88% of the respondents consider that it is primarily up to the family to transmit values. A figure that echoes a formulation dear to the Apel: “Parents are the first educators of their children.”

Although it is mentioned first in only 5% of cases, the school nevertheless has a vital role to play in this transmission for 90% of the respondents. Moreover, even though many schools take a proactive approach to this issue, only 62% of parents surveyed believe that the school does this sufficiently.

Regarding education for citizenship, France is, on paper, the best pupil in the European class, with specific teaching spread over twelve years, starting with CP but, in reality, this approach remains mostly ineffective because values, particularly republican values, are too often taught in a disembodied way.

Digital complicates transmission

Another lesson from this survey: parents who consider religion as one of the vectors of values are very much in the minority (9%). Only slightly more respondents believe that the Internet can play such a role (16%).

Moreover, more than one in two respondents (56%) think that the pace of innovation and the impact of digital technology on time complicate transmission. Digital technology can also be used to convey our values, provided we choose resources in a rational way,” says Caroline Saliou. On the condition also that we teach our children that benevolence does not stop at the threshold of the screen, that it must also guide us on social networks.