How families use media and what it means for kids' health and well-being is the subject of Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America, the first study by Common Sense Media's new Program for the Study of Children and Media. The report is featured in both the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle today.
The study shows that everything from iPods to smartphones to tablet computers are now a regular part of kids' lives, with kids under 8 averaging two hours a day with all screen media. 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 (11%) 0- to 8-year-olds 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.
Clearly, media has become a staple in young kids' daily lives and influences them in ways we don't yet fully understand. But by getting involved in your kid's media life, you can help them create healthy lifelong patterns that will truly make a difference in their lives:
- Balance the types of media your kids are exposed to.
- Choose age-appropriate, quality content that reinforces your family's values.
- Watch, play, read, and listen with your kids. Don't underestimate the value of co-viewing
About the Common Sense Media Research Program
The release of today's study serves as the launch of Common Sense Media's Program for the Study of Children and Media, a multi-year research effort directed by Vicky Rideout, a former vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.The goal of the program is to provide parents, educators, health organizations, and policymakers with reliable, independent data on children's use of media and technology and the impact this has on their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.
For analysis and full results of Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America, as well as more information about Common Sense Media's Program for the Study of Children and Media, visit www.commonsense.org/research.