Someone recently asked me if I call myself a “Tiger Mom” based on the amount of limitations I place on my Gen Zs when it comes to technology (ok, and a few other things). I replied, “I’m not a “Tiger Mom”, but I think of myself as a “Cyber Mom”. I’m a working mom who completely embraces technology, and I use it to help juggle my busy life, but I set limits for my Gen Zs. I’m more professional and impatient than a Soccer Mom, yet demanding like a Tiger Mom and try hard not to be a Helicopter Mom.
Moms engage with technology at so many different levels that “Moms” need to be further segmented based on how they use technology. The Cyber Mom is an early adapter, engaged with technology at the highest and deepest level, for personal, professional and family reasons. The Cyber Mom is a new consumer segment that marketers need to plug into.
What is a Cyber Mom?
A Cyber Mom is highly connected, befriended, updated on the latest social media, may track stocks for family accounts and tuned into the latest news up to the minute. She uses social media purposefully, and socially for the occasional hello.
Society, and marketers in particular, need to get to know the Cyber Mom consumer segment because not only does she make at least 85% of the purchase decisions, she also makes the family machine run smoothly with her technology brilliance.
Cyber Moms are Tiger Moms when it comes to technology & their kids. She will “Battle” her Gen Zs over how much time they spend online because to a Cyber Mom, that’s a battle worth fighting. Hence, the Battle Hymn of the Cyber Mom.
What is the Battle Hymn of the Cyber Mom?
1. The Cyber Mom demands academic and artistic excellence from her Gen Zs.
Despite being productive online most of the day, a Cyber Mom is committed to making sure her kids are not online all day, and that her Gen Zs use technology wisely vs. foolishly. She knows that too much access, too soon has serious consequences. A Cyber Mom battles her children over technology because she wants them fully engaged in academics, music, sports and social skills to be high achievers. Hours on Instagram won’t get you into Harvard, but hours of math drills each night will increase your chances.
2. The Cyber Mom demands respect and relationships with her Gen Zs.
It can be a battle to get your Gen Z to look up and engage with you (and in some cases, anyone else). And I see that Gen Zs use their technology knowledge as power. I see many Gen Zs who have no respect for their parents and largely because their parents are technically challenged. But not the Cyber Mom – the Cyber Mom is at an equal or higher level of technical ability than her Gen Zs. And Gen Zs totally respect that, and respect her for being so tech savvy. As family dinners turn to phone fests, it’s the parents’ responsibility to teach Gen Zs when, where, how and how much they can socialize online.
A Cyber Mom will spend time online productively with her Gen Zs, learning a new app together, designing and entering contests, or learning the latest social media. For example, my son and I teach each other about new apps and come up with our own together. This breaks the barriers between Gen Zs and parents and helps sustain a good relationship.
3. They Cyber Mom demands disclosure from her Gen Zs.
This is controversial because today’s parenting philosophy seems to be ‘do as little parenting as possible’. But the Cyber Mom is not afraid of her kids and will fight the battle over full disclosure for the sake of her kids’ safety and civility. Cyber Moms gain full access to their Gen Zs accounts to monitor: seeing what your kids are posting on Instagram, what they’ve bought on Amazon, monitoring activity for cyber bullying, see what they posted on Vine, find out where they think they’re going Saturday night. Ignorance can be bliss, but a Cyber Mom wants to know and she’s tough enough to shut it down.
What does this mean for marketers? When targeting Moms, segment the Mom consumers deeper to include Cyber Moms along with Soccer Moms and Tiger Moms. Move over Soccer Moms – Cyber Moms are winning all sorts of ‘games’ with their brains.