14/08/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Sexist Searches: Parents Google Questions About Their Sons' Intelligence But Their Daughters' Appearance


Parents tend to want their boys to be smart and their girls to be slim. That's the sad findings, based on analysis of Google search data.

"It's not that parents don't want their daughters to be bright or their sons to be in shape," says Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, who examined the data. "But they are much more focused on the braininess of their sons and the waistlines of their daughters."

Seth's research into commonly searched phrases revealed that parents are two and a half times more likely to type into Google "Is my son gifted?" than "Is my daughter gifted?"

He also found a similar search bias existed for other words relating to intelligence such as 'genius'.

But when he started to look into searches related to appearance the bias swung the other way. Parents Google "Is my daughter overweight?" roughly twice as frequently as "Is my son overweight?" They are also one and a half times more likely to ask whether their daughter is beautiful than if their son is.

Seth's investigation for The New York Times only focused on searches made by American parents. So here at Parentdish we decided to find out if the internet searches of parents in the UK show the same gender biases.

The good news is we found that parents in the UK seem to value intelligence in boys and girls equally - "Is my daughter gifted?" is searched just as often as "Is my son gifted?"

But when it comes to worries about our children's looks it seems we still have a long way to go before we reach equality. UK parents ask Google 'Is my daughter overweight?' twice as often as 'Is my son overweight?'

'My daughter is ugly' is searched on average 140 times a month, but the same statement for sons is searched just 10 times a month.

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