Mobile Devices Increasingly Find Their Way into Kids' Hands - eMarketer

Newsletters Sign-Up

Plans & Pricing

Does My Company Subscribe?

Mobile Devices Increasingly Find Their Way into Kids' Hands

Game playing, videos top mobile activities for children

November 6, 2013

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.

Daily Time Spent with Media by US Children According to their Parents, 2011 & 2013 (hrs:mins)

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%.

Daily Media Activities of US Children According to Their Parents, 2011 & 2013 (% of respondents)

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%).

Corporate subscribers have access to all eMarketer analyst reports, articles, data and more. Join the thousands of marketers who already benefit from eMarketer’s approach. Learn more.


  • Go beyond the articles:

    eMarketer Products

    You've never experienced research like this.

  • Hear from our clients:

    Customer Stories

    Nearly all Fortune 500 companies rely on us.

  • Want to learn more?

    Contact Us

    Inquire about corporate subscriptions today.