Parents Way More Tech-Savvy Than Their Millennial Kids Think

Survey reveals whopping disconnect between 18-34 year-olds and their parents

New Best Buy survey reveals tech disconnect between millennial children and their parents. (Graphic: Business Wire)

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MINNEAPOLIS--()--Millennials and their parents may agree on some things, but in surprising ways, technology isn’t one of them.

A new Parent-Millennial Child Tech Survey from Best Buy finds that fewer than one-third of millennials think their parents are very comfortable buying the right personal tech for themselves. Parents strongly disagree, however, with 66 percent saying they do just fine, thank you very much.

The just-released survey reveals similar misconceptions about tech support among parents and their millennial kids: almost half (47 percent) of millennials say their parents turn to them for tech help at least once a week. But parents say they’re not nearly so dependent on their kids: only 17 percent said they seek help from their kids that often. Parents do admit, though, to asking their children for help, with more than half saying they ask for help at least once a month.

“We're often told that young people are more interested in and know more about technology than older adults, but that isn’t necessarily true,” said Derek Meister, a Cleveland-based Agent with Best Buy’s Geek Squad. “This survey reinforces what we see every day — parents are often tech savvy and seek advice in very different ways.”

Among the survey’s other key findings:

  • Millennials give parents little credit for making the most of their tech. While 60 percent of parents claim they know how to get the most from their technology, only 33 percent of adult children give their parents credit for really understanding their gear.
  • Dad relies on reviews, mom on son. Gender also plays a role in sourcing tech advice. Among parents who considered their children to be the most trustworthy source of advice, 64 percent are moms and 36 percent are dads. Dad, in fact, prefers expert reviews (60 percent) to advice from his millennial son or daughter. Moms tend to turn to their sons for tech help more often than their daughters, with 39 percent of sons being tapped compared with 28 percent of daughters.
  • Smart home devices intrigue – and confuse. In an interesting paradox, smart home devices are the products parents are most interested in but confess they’re not confident enough to buy (20 percent). Parents also have interest but lack confidence in selecting streaming devices (18 percent), smartwatches (13 percent) and home theater systems (13 percent).
  • Happy to help, regardless. One source of agreement from the survey? Some 62 percent of parents say their adult children are happy to help and 58 percent of adult children confirmed that.

    Geek Squad Agent Meister serves clients of all generations and has been his own parents’ tech guru for decades. He offers this advice for millennials who are called upon by mom or dad for tech support:
    • Understand the issue is comfort, not ability. Don’t underestimate your parents’ interest or ability. Find out specifically what about their tech makes them uncomfortable and help them overcome that. For example, touchscreens come naturally to a teenager but not necessarily to someone older – the nerves in the finger are less sensitive with age, and older people may touch more heavily. Help them compensate for that.
    • Simplify their tech. “I love tech, but I know not everybody else does,” Agent Meister said. “If your mom is frustrated by her laptop, smart phone or tablet, find ways to simplify things.” Uninstalling apps mom doesn’t use is one way to reduce the likelihood that she gets lost in the options. You might want to go as far as replacing her tech with something simpler.

Of course Best Buy Blue Shirts and Geek Squad Agents assist people of all ages with technology, and are just a click or call away. Help for every technology is available at approximately 1,400 Best Buy stores nationwide, as well as online, by phone and in-home. For more information visit www.bestbuy.com

The Best Buy Parent-Child Tech Survey was conducted from Aug. 27 – Sept. 6, 2016, among 2,000 U.S. consumers. About half of the respondents were parents of adult children and took a “parent” survey; the other half were children aged 18-34 with living adult parents and took the “adult child” survey. The margin of error was +/- 3 percent.

Contacts

Best Buy Public Relations
Paula Baldwin, 612-231-5146
press@bestbuy.com

Release Summary

A new Parent-Millennial Child Tech Survey from Best Buy finds that parents are much more comfortable with technology than their children may think.

Contacts

Best Buy Public Relations
Paula Baldwin, 612-231-5146
press@bestbuy.com