Born with a Tablet in Their Mouths?

Parents aren’t cutting back on “screen time” for their youngsters, despite warnings from educators, the American Academy of Pediatrics and child psychologists that too much time in front of a screen impedes kids’ physical activity, problem-solving ability, and emotional growth.

In fact, a new study of students eight years and younger by Common Sense Media shows parents are fueling the fire.

Among Common Sense’s findings of 8-and-younger kids:

  • More than half (52%) regularly use a smartphone (41%), video iPod (21%) or an iPad or other tablet (8%)
  • 11% use a cell phone, iPod or tablet every day
  • 22% use a computer every day
  • 17% play a video game every day while 81% have played video games.

The most surprising finding?  Almost a third of 8-and-younger kids have two TVs in their bedrooms.

Type of screen time varies by family income

Family dynamics play a key role in what kind of digital media young students consume.

Among households with income of $75,00 or higher (with two parents in the home more common), only 20% allowed TVs in their young kids’ rooms. In houses with income of $30K or less, 64% of kids have TVs in their room.

Yet while higher-income parents are more restrictive with TV, they’re less so with downloaded apps. Nearly half of families with income above $75K have downloaded an app for their kids, compared with just 1-in-8 of $30K-and-under households.

What do you think these findings mean for tomorrow’s educators?


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