"Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America 2013" is based on a large, nationally representative sample of respondents and replicates methods from 2011 to gauge how media environments and behaviors have changed over the past two years. The study is the only one of its kind, tracking young children's use of new mobile media devices and apps along with older media platforms such as television, computers, and books.
Among the key findings:
- There has been a huge increase in use of mobile media by young children over the past two years:
- The average amount of time children spend using mobile devices has tripled, from five minutes a day to 15 minutes a day (the average daily use among all 0- to 8-year-olds);
- The number of kids who've used mobile devices has nearly doubled (38% to 72%);
- 38% of toddlers and infants under 2 have used a mobile device, compared to 10% in 2011.
- The average time spent with "traditional" screen media (TV, DVDs, computers, and video games) has decreased by more than a half-hour a day (though overall screen time is down by 21 minutes, with mobile time up 10 minutes). However, TV viewing on a TV set still makes up half of all screen time.
- Access to mobile media among poor and minority children is much higher than it was two years ago, but a digital divide persists. Twenty percent of lower-income kids have a tablet compared to 63% of higher-income ones; and 35% of lower-income parents have downloaded educational apps for their kids, compared to 75% of higher-income ones.
Despite the dramatic changes of the past two years, television still reigns supreme in children's media lives, though new ways of watching now make up a large portion of viewing. It is the medium children use most frequently, by far: nearly six out of 10 children (58%) watch TV at least once a day, compared to 17% who use mobile devices on an everyday basis, 14% who are daily computer users, and 6% who play video games every day.
Even among infants and toddlers, screen media use dwarfs time spent reading. In a typical day, children under 2 spend more than twice as much time watching television and DVDs (55 minutes) as they do reading or being read to (19 minutes)."