How Rising Tablet Ownership Affects Our Children’s Use of Electronic Media

by Istvan Fekete on October 29, 2013

With tablet ownership jumping from 8% to 40% among families with young kids, parents unwittingly allow infants and toddlers to spend more time with screen media rather than books, a new report from Common Sense Media reveals.

As the Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America 2013 report – the second in its series of national surveys of children’s media use in America – reveals, the number of children having access to tablets has dramatically increased in the past two years.

Most notably among families with children aged eight and under, the Common Sense Media survey has found a five-fold increase in ownership of tablets, up from 8% to 40%, and the percentage of children with access to some sort of smart mobile handset or tablet at home has jumped to 75%, up from 52%.

This also means – yet again unwittingly or not – that the average time children spend using mobile devices has increased. As the report highlights, the time spent with screen media has tripled over the past two years from five minutes a day to 15 minutes a day, which is the average daily use among all children aged eight or under.

A logical extension of the above findings is that the number of kids who use mobile devices has jumped to 72%, up from 38% two years ago. What’s interesting, and something that may raise the red flag, is that 38% of toddlers and infants under the age of two have used a mobile device compared to 10% in 2011.

With smart mobile devices at home, the time spent with ‘traditional’ screen media such as TV, DVD, computer, and video games has decreased by more than a half-hour a day. However, TV viewing still makes up half of all screen time.

“This is quite an extraordinary shift for our young children. In the past we could measure and control exactly where, when, and how they were engaging with screens. Now, mobile devices follow our kids from room to room,” said James Steyer, CEO and founder, Common Sense Media. “The media children consume can have a profound impact on their learning, social development, and behavior, and the only way to maximize the positive impact — and minimize the negative — is to have an accurate understanding of the role it plays in their lives. These kids are true digital natives.”

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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