Toddlers getting more tablet use, study finds

Oct 28, 2013
Apple's new iPad Air tablet is seen on October 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California

The craze for tablets and smartphones is spreading to ever younger users. A new study of American households found 38 percent of toddlers and infants under the age of two have used a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone, compared to 10 percent in 2011.

The study by Common Sense Media said young up to age eight still spend more time with "traditional" screen media such as TV, DVDs, computers, and video games, but that this is shifting .

Overall screen time is down by 21 minutes, with mobile time up 10 minutes, the study found. Viewing on a television set still makes up half of all .

"This is quite an extraordinary shift for our ," said James Steyer, chief executive and founder of Common Sense Media.

"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," he said.

"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."

The average amount of time children spend using mobile devices has tripled, from five minutes a day to 15 minutes a day for the zero-to-eight age group, the study found, and the number of kids who have used has nearly doubled from 38 to 72 percent.

"I've never seen a new medium take hold among little kids this fast," said researcher Vicky Rideout. "As many little babies and one-year-olds have used smartphones or tablets today as all kids under eight had done just two years ago."

The most common mobile media activity among children is playing games, cited by 63 percent of parents. And parents also said 30 percent of used these devices for reading.

The study found educational TV is the most popular screen activity among young children, with 61 percent watching some programming.

On average, children in this age group read or are read to for just under half an hour a day, roughly the same as in 2011.

The report is based on a survey of 1,463 parents of children age eight and under including an "over-sample" of African-American and Latino parents from May 20 to June 12.

Explore further: Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Managing media: We need a plan

Oct 28, 2013

From TV to smart phones to social media, the lives of U.S. children and families are dominated by 24/7 media exposure. Despite this, many children and teens have few rules around their media use. According to a revised policy ...

Most parents monitor kids on Facebook, study finds

Jun 13, 2013

Some two-thirds of American parents monitor their children's Facebook activities, but a large percentage say they trust their youngsters to manage on their own, a study showed Thursday.

Managing children's screen time: What parents need to know

Oct 17, 2013

In our increasingly fast-paced world, the Internet, video games, smartphones and TV programs are continually competing for consumers' attention. But what are the effects of screen media on infants and young children, when ...

Recommended for you

Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

9 hours ago

High above the altar in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the halo around Jesus Christ's head in Michelangelo's famous frescoes shines with a brighter glow, thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system.

Free urban data—what's it good for?

Oct 29, 2014

Cities around the world are increasingly making urban data freely available to the public. But is the content or structure of these vast data sets easy to access and of value? A new study of more than 9,000 ...

Rice team sets sights on better voting machine

Oct 27, 2014

At the urging of county election officials in Austin, Texas, a group of Rice University engineers and social scientists has pulled together a team of U.S. experts to head off a little-known yet looming crisis ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.