Toddlers are using technology but turning away from TV, according to a national survey. Thirty-eight percent of children under age 2 have used a mobile device, up from 11 percent two years ago, according to Common Sense Media, reports the San Jose Mercury News. At the same, young children are spending less time watching TV.
Three-quarters of children ages 0 to 8 have access to mobile devices such as smart phones, tablet computers and iPod Touches, the survey found. The proportion of young children using the devices nearly doubled, from 38 percent two years ago to 72 percent, and average duration of use tripled from 5 minutes to 15 minutes daily.
Children up to age 8 average nearly two hours a day in front of video screens. That’s 21 minutes less than they did two years ago, according to Common Sense Media.
Half, or 57 minutes, of screen time is spent watching TV, a drop of 9 minutes a day from two years ago. Of TV time, one-third is spent watching prerecorded programs on a DVR. Ten minutes a day is spent playing video games, down by 4 minutes from two years ago.
Children are more likely to watch educational programs on TV than on smart phones, the survey found.
A third of children have televisions in their bedrooms. Lower-income families were more likely to have a TV on all the time compared to than higher-income and better-educated families.
Where there is still a gap between the rich and poor in ownership of mobile devices, it is narrowing. Among poor families — those earning less than $30,000 a year — access to smart phones increased from 27 percent to 51 percent in two years, while tablet ownership went from 2 percent to 20 percent.
Yet Common Sense pointed out an “app gap,” partly because only 46 percent of lower-income families have access to high-speed Internet, and therefore have less access to downloadable educational programs.
There’s also a huge reading gap. About half of parents said they read to their children under 2 ever day; a quarter read every week. One fifth never read to their children under 2.