Zero to Eight is a nationally representative survey of parents of U.S. children ages zero to eight, conducted to understand the patterns of media use among young American children. Covering TV, other video, reading, music, computers, video games, and mobile digital devices, we examine time spent and frequency of use; differences in children’s media use by gender, race, or socio-economic status; the home media environment; educational media use; and access to the newest mobile media platforms like smart phones and tablets.
Key Finding 1: Young children use Digital Media frequently
Even very young children are frequent digital media users.
TOTAL DIGITAL MEDIA USE. Today a substantial proportion of the time that young children spend with screen media is spent with digital media — including computers, handheld and console video game players, and other interactive mobile devices such as cell phones, video iPods, and iPad-style tablet devices. Among 0- to 8-year-olds as a whole, a quarter (27%) of all screen time is spent with these digital devices.
MOBILE MEDIA. Half (52%) of all children now have access to one of the newer mobile devices at home: either a smartphone (41%), a video iPod (21%), or an iPad or other tablet device (8%).
More than a quarter (29%) of all parents have down- loaded “apps” (applications used on mobile devices) for their children to use. And more than a third (38%) of children have ever used one of these newer mobile devices, including 10% of 0- to 1-year-olds, 39% of 2- to 4-year-olds, and 52% of 5- to 8-year-olds.
In a typical day, 11% of all 0- to 8-year olds use a cell phone, iPod, iPad, or similar device for media consumption, and those who do spend an average of :43 doing so.
COMPUTERS. Computer use is pervasive among very young children, with half (53%) of all 2- to 4-year- olds having ever used a computer, and nine out of ten (90%) 5- to 8-year-olds having done so. For many of these children, computer use is a regular occurrence: 22% of 5- to 8-year-olds use a computer at least once a day, and another 46% use it at least once a week. Even among 2- to 4-year-olds, 12% use a computer every day, with another 24% doing so at least once a week. Among all children who have used a computer, the average age at first use was just 3 ½ years old.
VIDEO GAMES. Playing console video games is also popular among these young children: Half (51%) of all 0- to 8-year-olds have ever played a console video game, including 44% of 2- to 4-year-olds and 81% of 5- to 8-year-olds. Among those who have played console video games, the average age at first use was just under 4 years old (3 years and 11 months). Among 5- to 8-year-olds, 17% play console video games at least once a day, and another 36% play them at least once a week.
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