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Younger children are spending less time overall in front of screens, according to an October 2013 survey of US parents with kids ages 8 and younger conducted by nonprofit organization Common Sense Media. The survey found that, on average, the total amount of time per day kids spent in front of a device with a screen was 1 hour and 55 minutes in 2013, down from 2 hours and 16 minutes in 2011.
Interestingly, time spent in front of stationary devices, such as televisions, DVDs and PCs, all declined. Meanwhile, time spent with mobile devices—such as a smartphone or tablet—tripled over the two-year period, reaching 15 minutes this year, up from 5 minutes two years earlier.
The number of kids who used a mobile device at least once daily also climbed significantly, going from 8% to 17% during that timeframe. Meanwhile, the percentage of children who watched TV declined to 58% this year, while the number of kids watching DVDs fell to 18%. And the percentage using a computer held steady, at 14%.
The study also found that access by children to mobile devices was not just a product of higher ownership rates among parents, but also of higher ownership rates among the children themselves. For instance, 7% of children in the survey had their own tablets, almost the same number of parents (8%) who owned tablets two years ago.
As devices have found their way into tinier hands, the amount of content consumed on them has naturally increased. The survey found that children with access to mobile devices were largely using them to play games and consume content. Game playing topped the list of activities, named by 63% of respondents. That was followed by app use (50%), watching videos (47%), watching TV or movies (38%) and reading books (30%).
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