Study: 42% of Kids Under 8 Have TVs

Children younger than age 8 average two hours per day of screen time, according to of Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America, a study conducted by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media.

The study shows that everything from iPods to smartphones to tablet computers are now a regular part of kids' lives. Among the key findings:

  • 42% of children under 8 years old have a television in their bedroom.
  • Half (52%) of all 0- to 8-year-olds have access to a new mobile device, such as a smartphone, video iPod, or iPad/tablet.
  • More than a third (38%) of children this age have used one of these devices, including 10% of 0-to 1-year-olds, 39% of 2- to 4-year-olds, and more than half (52%) of 5- to 8-year-olds.
  • In a typical day, one in 10  kids up to 8 years old uses a smartphone, video iPod, iPad, or similar device to play games, watch videos, or use other apps. Those who do such activities spend an average of 43 minutes a day doing so.
  • In addition to the traditional digital divide, a new "app gap" has developed, with only 14% of lower-income parents having downloaded new media apps for their kids to use, compared to 47% of upper-income parents.

For its study, Common Sense Media interviewed 1,384 parents. “The app gap is a big deal and a harbinger of the future,” says James Steyer, the organization's chief executive. “It’s the beginning of an important shift, as parents increasingly are handing their iPhones to their 1½-year-old kid as a shut-up toy. Parents who check their e-mail three times on the way to the bus stop are constantly modeling that behavior, so it’s only natural the kids want to use mobile devices too,” he adds.

In releasing its study, Common Sense Media offered these suggestions to parents:

Balance the types of media your kids are exposed to.

• Choose age-appropriate, quality content that reinforces your family's values. Common Sense Media reviews suggest appropriate age levels and include parent advisories on violence, commercialism, sexual content and many other factors.

Watch, play, read, and listen with your kids. Don't underestimate the value of co-viewing.

Categories: FYI