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Three-quarters of US children 8 and under now have access to some type of "smart" mobile device at home (such as a smartphone or tablet), a jump from 52% just two years ago, according to a recent report by Common Sense Media.

In particular, access to tablets has spiked, with a fivefold increase in ownership of devices such as iPads in the past two years among families with young children: from 8% in 2011 to 40% in 2013.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on a nationally representative survey of 1,463 US parents of children age 8 and under.

Usage 

  • 72% percent of children age 8 and under have used a mobile device for some type of media activity such as playing games, watching videos, or using apps, up from 38% in 2011.
  • 38% of children under 2 have used a mobile device for media (compared with 10% two years ago).
  • The percentage of children who use mobile devices on a daily basis—at least once a day or more—has more than doubled, from 8% to 17%.

Time Spent

  • Children age 8 and under spend 12 minutes less per day watching TV, 9 minutes less watching DVDs, 6 minutes less using a computer, and 4 minutes less playing video games than they did just two years ago.
  • On the other hand, time spent consuming media on mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads increased by 10 minutes a day (from 5 minutes in 2011 to 15 minutes in 2013).
  • With the increase in mobile media use and the decrease in other screen media use, total screen time among those up to 8 years old is down an average of 21 minutes a day to just less than two hours a day.

Disparity Among Income Groups

  • The gaps in mobile device access among income groups has narrowed since 2011. For example, two years ago 22% of lower-income children had ever used a mobile device; today, 65% have done so.
  • However, significant disparities remain among income groups. Although 20% of lower-income children now have a tablet device at home, 63% of higher-income children do; and whereas 35% of lower-income parents have downloaded educational apps for their child, 75% of higher-income parents have done so.

About the research: The report was based on data from a nationally representative survey of 1,463 US parents of children age 8 and under, including an oversample of African-American and Latino parents. The survey was conducted from May 20 to June 12, 2013.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji