Common Sense Media has released a new report, finding that 38% of children under the age of 2 have used a mobile device for playing games, watching videos or other media-related purposes. This is up from 10% in 2011.
Once children reach 8, 72% of them have used a smartphone, tablet or similar device.
Jim Seyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media says “this is the true sign that the digital generation has arrived”.
The study found rapid growth in the use of mobile-devices among very young children, especially when compared to other mediums. Television viewership in the age group remained stable between 2011 and 2013 at 66% of children under 2 watching television. The use of computers grew from 4% to 10%, and DVD viewership declined, from 52% to 46%.
The overall adoption of tablets and smartphones is increasing, and so is the average amount of time spent using them. Between 2011 and 2013 the average time spent tripled – from 5 minutes a day in 2011 to 15 minutes in 2013 for children aged 0 to 8 years old.
Steyer said “We’re seeing a fundamental change in the way kids consume media”, “Kids that can’t even talk will walk up to a TV screen and swipe it like an iPad or iPhone”.
There are pros and cons to the increased access to such devices, while tablets can be a great education tool, when they’re overused or serve as virtual babysitters they may cause developmental harm.
Steyer disagrees with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to bar all screen time for children under 2, labelling it a conservative suggestion. He believes that when used responsibly, and content and time is monitored, tablets and smartphones may serve many educational purposes.
“We need to make screen time learning time,” he said. “Technology used wisely is an essential element to education.”
It is now up to companies to create ethical and valuable technology that do not encourage addiction, are educational and respect the privacy of families.
“This trend is a big deal to the tech industry, and there’s a profound impact on children and families,” he said. “We’ve got to use these things wisely.”
By G+ Author: Grace Barry.