Protect Your Kids
Protect Your Kids 2 minute read

Common Sense Monitoring: Stats About the Internet Habits of Young Children

Last Updated: April 15, 2015

Children’s media habits are out of balance. At least that’s what the latest report from the Sesame Workshop is saying.

Recently the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released their report about how younger children (0-11 years old) are consuming media. Always Connected: The new digital media habits of young children addresses everything from TV to the Internet, mobile devices to video games.

Reviewing seven never-before-released studies from the past five years, Always Connected is one of the most exhaustive reports about the media diet of young children.

How children are using the Internet

  • About two-thirds of families with children under 11 have computers (almost all with Internet connections).
  • At age 3, a fourth of children go online daily. By age 5, this increases to about half. By age 8, two-thirds of children use the Internet on any given weekday.
  • Among 0-5-year-olds who use the Internet, about 80% do so at least once a week.
  • Children ages 5-9 spend 28 minutes online every day on average.
  • In 2009, children ages 8-10 spent 46 minutes every day online. This was up from 19 minutes in 2006.
  • Over 60% of children under age 3 watch video online.
  • More than one-third of children over age 5 say their favorite websites are those tied to television networks (like Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel or PBS).
  • 71% of children ages 5-9 use the Internet in households earning more than $100,000. In households earning less than $50,000, that number is 51%.
  • Wealthier children access the Internet at greater rates, but spend less time online than their lower-income peers.
  • Among children ages 8-14, Hispanic children spend almost two hours online each day, 40 minutes more than white children.
  • Among children 2-11, about 36% use the TV and Internet simultaneously.

Digital media habits shift around age 8

Between the ages of 7 and 9, children begin to extend their media habits, when they begin to move beyond television to other media formats. The percentage of children using the Internet and video games tends to increase dramatically in this age bracket. Children are also more likely to personally own media devices. For instance, 30% of 6-year-olds have a TV in their room, but that number almost doubles (59%) by age 8.

Social and developmental changes play a major role in this shift. Fine-motor skills are honed at this age to be able to use a keyboard and controllers. Seven- and 8-year-olds can also focus on activities for longer stretches of time. Their literacy skills can be used to operate digital media. This is also the age when children begin to develop stronger relationships outside the family, showing a greater interest in peer-acceptance and shared popular culture (such as music or games).

Guidelines for parents

“Media platforms by themselves are neutral,” state the authors of Always Connected, “what matters most are the choices made by parents, educators, educational production companies, and other content providers in order to encourage a balanced pattern of consumption.”

While there are some research-based guidelines for hours of TV consumption, none have been created for other types of media. Attention among researchers, rather, has shifted to common-sense monitoring of the content: What is your child’s “media diet”? What are they watching? Is their media time mostly intentional learning time, or recreational and entertainment-based? It is up to parents to ensure their children are consuming a well-balanced diet that stimulates learning.

Learn more:

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related in Protect Your Kids

Editor's Picks

Phone and a computer configured to block porn sites.

Protect Your Kids

How To Block Porn Sites

The amount of pornography available online can be disheartening. But here are…

8 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Close-up of parent holding a child's hand.

Protect Your Kids

How Churches Can Rescue This Generation From Pornography

Culture is always changing. And there are things in our culture that…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Female student writing a scholarship essay.

Protect Your Kids

5 Eye-Opening Revelations From 850 Scholarship Essays

Each year, Covenant Eyes holds a scholarship contest for current members who…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Silhouette of a man walking through a tunnel.

Protect Your Kids

The Sound of Freedom and the Problem of Pornography

The Covenant Eyes Podcast recently sat down with Operation Underground Railroad founder,…

2 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A group of three young computer programmers working on laptops.

Protect Your Kids

Porn and Artificial Intelligence

When Chat GPT launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence took the world…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Parents with their teenage son.

Protect Your Kids

Why Parents Must Talk About Sex

When my son was sixteen, he attended a youth group meeting during…

5 minute read

Read Post

Related in Protect Your Kids

Phone and a computer configured to block porn sites.

Protect Your Kids

How To Block Porn Sites

The amount of pornography available online can be disheartening. But here are…

The amount of pornography available online can be disheartening. But here are some practical steps you can take to block porn sites on your computer or mobile device. Porn-blocking software makes it easier to block…

8 minute read

0 comments

Close-up of parent holding a child's hand.

Protect Your Kids

How Churches Can Rescue This Generation From Pornography

Culture is always changing. And there are things in our culture that…

Culture is always changing. And there are things in our culture that take us away from Christ. Every generation tends to feel doom and gloom at the rate of change. Ours is not different in…

4 minute read

0 comments

Female student writing a scholarship essay.

Protect Your Kids

5 Eye-Opening Revelations From 850 Scholarship Essays

Each year, Covenant Eyes holds a scholarship contest for current members who…

Each year, Covenant Eyes holds a scholarship contest for current members who are enrolled as full-time students. This year, we had over 850 applicants! These amazing students answered questions about integrity using today’s technology, their…

4 minute read

0 comments

Silhouette of a man walking through a tunnel.

Protect Your Kids

The Sound of Freedom and the Problem of Pornography

The Covenant Eyes Podcast recently sat down with Operation Underground Railroad founder,…

The Covenant Eyes Podcast recently sat down with Operation Underground Railroad founder, Tim Ballard. Tim’s story has been dramatized in the new blockbuster movie, The Sound of Freedom. In our conversation with Tim, we learned…

2 minute read

0 comments

A group of three young computer programmers working on laptops.

Protect Your Kids

Porn and Artificial Intelligence

When Chat GPT launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence took the world…

When Chat GPT launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence took the world by storm. And with good reason—the wide array of AI tools now available to the public offer truly breathtaking capabilities. At Covenant Eyes,…

4 minute read

0 comments

Parents with their teenage son.

Protect Your Kids

Why Parents Must Talk About Sex

When my son was sixteen, he attended a youth group meeting during…

When my son was sixteen, he attended a youth group meeting during which the male leader spoke with the guys about pornography and enumerated the ramifications porn could have on marriages and families. He learned…

5 minute read

0 comments