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Study: 75% Of Kids Under Age 8 Use Mobile Devices

Three out of four tots are pinching and swiping.

There's been an explosion of mobile technology use among young children in the past two years, even as overall media exposure is declining. According to a report out today from Common Sense Media, which studies the safe use of media for kids, the percentage of children under eight with access to a smartphone or tablet has jumped from half (52%) to three-quarters (75%), while the average daily time on the device has tripled from five to 15 minutes (for parents, that's measured as the length of time it takes to wolf down your meal in a restaurant, or conduct a conversation in peace). Perhaps most startling is that 38% of babies under two years old have used a mobile device, up from one in 10 just two years ago.

The most interesting finding in this report is the 21-minute decline in average reported screen media use, from two hours and 16 minutes to one hour and 55 minutes. Although plain old television still accounts for half—about an hour—of daily screen time for kiddies, usage is down for DVDs, video games, TV, and computers, and the rise in mobile usage hasn't been enough to counteract it. Ironically, even as parents are perhaps clamping down on screentime at home (or at least the amount they admit to), there has been a countervailing rise in the use of digital devices in public schools across the country. Technology: panacea or poison?

[Image: Flickr user David, Bergin, Emmett and Elliott]

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  • Jerry Clark

    I believe there may "seem" to be a drop off due to the speed to which we are getting our information today. You can throw a ton of information at someone in 1 minute that would have taken 5 minutes only but a few years ago...I think our minds are wired to speed through and ingest things faster than ever before. 5 minute clips are now 2 minutes and god forbid you have to sit through a 7 minute video on YouTube...even if it's a guitar lesson...we want it now, and we want it fast....

  • I think that daily screen time minute counting is part of an important discussion about the mental health of our children. But no matter if they in average use 2 hours and 16 minutes or 1 hour and 55 minutes the most important discussion should be about what exactly they are engaged with during that time. There are so many way to learn, discover and be social with an iPad in the hand.

    We should therefore just accept the screen time as a daily part of our digitalized age and focus on what kind of content and learning it contributes to our playful kittens.

  • Noor Alansari

    Well I can't really blame them; seeing that they are born into the digital world we now know- it's become second nature to pinch and swipe. The adults in their lives are constantly consuming them too so we have to look at ourselves as role models first before we criticize. Many people complain that their social outings almost always include people playing with their phones. Children are a product of us (their adults) so in a sense the finger pointing should be reversed.