On average, kids under the age of 8 spend about 29 minutes reading or being read to, while they spend more than 90 minutes in front of the television alone. They also spend about 17 minutes on the computer, 14 minutes playing video games and 5 minutes, on average, using a touchscreen device such as a cellphone or tablet.
The study, which will be presented Tuesday, is based on a survey of more than 1,300 parents and found that more than 38 percent of children under 8 years old have used a smartphone, video iPod or iPad. And while television is still the dominant media device in most young children’s lives, some kids are also spending a lot of time with these newer devices. On an average day, one in 10 children this age spends about 43 minutes using one of these devices to play games, watch video or use apps.
Though a digital divide over access to technology was prominent in the study, over half the children included in the survey had access to a smartphone, video iPod, iPad or other tablet. There was a marked difference between low-income (less than $30,000 per year) and high-income (above $75,000 per year) households: parents from high-income households were far more likely to download new media apps for their kids. Forty-seven percent of high income parents said that they have downloaded apps for their children, compared to 14 percent of low-income parents. In fact, the study found, 38 percent of low-income parents don’t know what an app is, compared to 3 percent of high-income parents.
The study also found that young children are multitasking with their media with over one-fifth of children ages 5 to 8 using more than one medium “most” or “some of the time.”