Digital media a regular part of life for many children

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Infants and toddlers are spending twice as much time with screen media as they are with books, a report says.

According to a national study by Common Sense Media, digital media has become ‘a regular part of the media diet’ of children ages zero to 8 years old. Forty percent of 2- to 4-year-olds and 52% of 5- to 8-year-olds are using smartphones, video iPods, iPads or similar devices.

Among the study’s other key findings:

-- Forty-two percent of children under 8 have a television in their bedrooms

-- In a typical day, 11% of zero- to 8-year-olds use a smartphone, video iPod, iPad or similar device to play games, watch videos or use apps. Those who do such activities spend an average of 43 minutes a day doing so.


-- An ‘app gap’ has developed, with only 14% of lower-income parents having downloaded new media apps for their kids compared with 47% of upper-income parents.

-- Among zero- to 8-year-olds, an average of an hour and 40 minutes is spent watching television or DVDs in a typical day, compared with 29 minutes reading or being read to.


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-- Andrea Chang