Over Half Of Kids Under 10 Are Using Mobile Devices

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

OK, I’m going to date myself here, but I remember when the number one activity of a child was being outside running around and playing games with their friends.  It was a very social affair which enabled us to burn a ton of energy, make memories with our best buds, and turn the day into a blur by dinner time.  But in the last 20 years, kids have moved inside, gotten solitary, and according to a recent study, or spending much of their time on iPads, iPhones, and other mobile devices.  Is that a good thing?

“These results make it clear that media plays a large and growing role in children’s lives, even the youngest of children,” said Vicky Rideout,  senior adviser to Common Sense Media

The study, “Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America,” was conducted by Common Sense Media, non profit organization which studies the use of technology in the lives of our children.   It was conducted last May 27-June 15, 2011, and surveyed nearly 1,400 parents of children up to the age of eight.

The study found that not only is a mobile device now the toy of choice amoungst the majority of children, but over 52% of all kids under 8 are using a tablet or smartphone almost exclusively, spending an average of 43 minutes every day playing on them.  And 40% of kids under 4 know how to use a smartphone and launch an app.  WOW.   Here’s some other details of the study:

• 42 percent of children under eight years of age have a TV in their bedrooms with 30 percent of 0- to 1-year-olds, 44 percent of 2- to 4-year-olds, and 47 percent of 5- to 8-year-olds

• Half (52%) of all 0- to 8-year-olds have access to a new mobile device such as a smartphone, video iPod, or iPad/tablet.

• More than a third (38%) of children this age have used one of these devices, including 10% of 0- to 1-year-olds, 39% of 2- to 4-year-olds, and more than half (52%) of 5- to 8-year-olds.

• In a typical day, one in 10 (11%) 0- to 8-year-olds uses a smartphone, video iPod, iPad, or similar device to play games, watch videos, or use other apps.

The study also found that 25% of all kids are power users, using more than one device at a time.

But that doesn’t mean that the original technological babysitter – the television set – is dead.  In fact, it’s still the dominant gadget that kids turn to, at an average of an hour and forty minutes a day watching TV or DVDs.   But all is not lost for the classics, as the study also found the average kid reads nearly a half hour a day (or their parents read to them), and a half hour listening to music.

The study is very telling and one that Hollywood is sure to pay attention to as they look to see where the next generation is going to get their entertainment content.  And if kids are spending all that time until the age of eight on tablets and smartphones, you can bet that studios like Disney, Nickolodeon, and even PBS will be gearing their creative content accordingly.

Hopefully, after that, kids are getting outside.  But if the obesity issue is any indicator, they’re probably not out there for very long.  Which has led many organizations like the National Football League to start Play 60 campaigns to get kids back outside for exercise and actually having something resembling a childhood.  But with firepower like the iPad and iPhone drawing their attention, those bicycles and kickballs are starting to gather some serious dust.

Hat Tip – Digital Journal

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.