New Study Uncovers The Powerful New Role Of Media In Children’s Lives

A couple of weeks ago, Common Sense Media released their findings from a study they conducted on children’s media use in America. This was their second survey designed to document the media environments and behaviors of kids ages 8 and under, the first of which was conducted two years ago. While this information would clearly be interesting on its own, we find it to be even more interesting to have the comparison with the data from two years ago.

How have our young children and their media usage changed over the past two years? The handy infographic below takes a look at the data from this year’s study and comparisons with the study from two years ago. Keep reading to learn more.

Growing Up Mobile

  • 3/4 of children have access to mobile devices at home
  • Smartphones are the most commonly used devices (63% up from 41% two years ago).
  • Tablets come a close second at 40% – compared with 8% two years ago!
  • The number of kids who have used mobile devices has about doubled since two years ago (38% to 72%)
  • Average daily use of mobile devices has tripled (from 5 minutes to 15 minutes a day)
  • The number of children under 2 who have used a mobile device has risen to 38% from 10% in 2011.
  • Traditional screen time (TV) is down from two years ago, but mobile screen time is up.
  • Most children using mobile devices are either playing games, using apps, or watching videos on the device.
  • The average child spends 1 hr 55 minutes per day in front of a screen – and this is still dominated by TV despite the rise in mobile usage.
  • More and more of this screen time is becoming DVR, on demand, and streaming.
  • The ‘digital divide’ between rich and poor still exists – high income families are three times as likely to own a tablet and more than twice as likely to have high speed internet.
  • 54% of higher income families use mobile devices for educational content but only 27% of lower income families do.

children social media


1 Comment

  1. Jasmine Henderson

    November 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I agree that kids will be more attached to the mobile screens rather than TVs like past generations. This is exactly why the International Center for Professional Development’s new initiative The Swivet Zone is so important for shifting kids’ interests in science and tech fields. Swivet is a Youtube comedy that tells the stories of high school students and how they apply what they learn in the classroom to their lives. This hilarious show casts Hollywood actors, and is subliminally used as a learning tool.

    A committee of science educators planned the content for the series and the plan is to take it to high schools nationwide as an educational tool to promote STEM education. The first season was filmed in locations in the United States, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The second season will be filmed in Washington, D.C.

    I’d love to get feedback about the show. You can watch old and new episodes at