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"Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America"


On October 25, 2011 Common Sense Media of San Francisco issued Zero to Eight: Children's Media Use in America by Vicky Rideout. Some of the key findings of their report were:

"Even very young children are frequent digital media users.

"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 ther tablet device (8%). More than a quarter (29%) of all parents have downloaded 'apps'. . . for their children to use. And more than a third (36%) of children have ever used one of these new 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-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 of first use was just 3 1/2 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. . . .

"Children under 2 spend twice as much time watching
TV and videos as they do reading books.

"In a typical day, 47% of babies and toddlers ages 0 through 1 watch TV or DVDs, and those who do watch spend an average of nearly two hours (1:54) doing so. This is an average of :53 among all children
in this age group, compared to an average of :23 a day reading or being read to. Nearly one in three (30%) has a TV in their bedroom. In 2005, among children ages 6-23 months, 19% had a TV in their
bedroom. Looking just at 6- to 23-month-olds in the current study, 29% have a TV in their bedroom. . . .

"Media use varies significantly by race and socio-economic status, but not much by gender.

"RACE AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS. African- American children spend an average of 4:27 a day with media (including music, reading, and screen media), compared to 2:51 among white children and 3:28 among Hispanics. Children from higher- income families or with more highly educated parents spend less time with media than other children do (for example, 2:47 a day among higher-income children vs. 3:34 among lower-income youth). Twenty percent of children in upper income homes have a TV in their bedroom, compared to 64% of those from lower- income homes. 

"GENDER. The only substantial difference between boys’ and girls’ media use is in console video games. Boys are more likely to have ever played a console video game than girls are (56% vs. 46%), to have a video game player in their bedroom (14% vs. 7%), and to play console video games every day (14% vs. 5%). Boys average :16 a day playing console games, compared to an average of :04 a day for girls."

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