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[Survey of Media Use by Children and Parents] 1-1. Media Ownership in Households


This section discusses media ownership by families with young children. The results of the survey show that the percentage of mothers who own smartphones is 60.5%, and the percentage of households who own tablets is 29.3%. Families with younger children tended to have smartphones and gaming devices. With respect to children's ownership of their own mobile media, children aged 4 years and older are more likely to have their own handheld gaming player.

60.5% of mothers with young children have smartphones

How much have new media devices penetrated the lives of families with young children? We asked the respondents whether the family owns new media devices. For smartphones and mobile phones, we asked the mothers and fathers separately whether they have these devices.

The results of the survey show that 99.6% of the households own TVs, 97.4% of them have video and DVD players, and 94.7% of them have PCs, indicating that the majority of families have media devices (Table 1-1-1). For gaming devices, 47.6% of the families said they have console-type gaming players and 49.8% of them said they have handheld gaming players, indicating that about 50% of the families have gaming devices.


Table 1-1-1 Media ownership in households
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With respect to the ownership of mobile media, 60.5% of mothers and 63.6% of fathers own smartphones, while 43.3% of mothers and 44.5% of fathers own mobile phones. This is almost the same percentage of mothers and fathers who own smartphones or mobile phones, respectively --about 60% own smartphones and 40% own mobile phones.

With respect to the ownership of tablets, the percentage of households with tablets is 29.3%, which is relatively low compared to other types of media. It should be noted that in this survey, the percentages of the respondents who own smartphones/tablets are slightly higher than in the "Communications Usage Trend Survey in 2012" (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, 2013), since it was conducted in the Greater Tokyo area, covering Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, and the average age of the respondents was late 30s.

With respect to home Internet environments, more than 90% of families make use of network environments. 37.6% of the respondents use a wired LAN, 61.0% of them use a wireless LAN, and 1.4% of them use other types of networks (multiple answers were allowed; Table 1-1-2).


Table 1-1-2 Home Internet environment
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The younger the child, the higher ownership of smartphones and gaming devices

Figure 1-1-1 shows media ownership of families with young children by the children's age group. Over 90% of households with children of all ages own TVs, video/DVD devices and PCs. Households with older children are more likely to own mobile phones, while those with younger children are more likely to own smartphones, console-type and handheld gaming devices.

The percentage of households who own smartphones is 69.9% for those with children aged between 6 and twelve months; 63.9% for those with children aged 1 year; 59.2% for those with children aged 2 years; 57.8% for those with children aged 3 years; 58.7% for those with children aged 4 years; 57.2% for those with children aged 5 years; and 52.1% for those with children aged 6 years. Likewise, the percentage of families who have console-type gaming devices is 58.7% for those with children aged between 6 and 12 months; 51.2% for those with children aged 1 year; 47.2% for those with children aged 2 years; 46.2% for those with children aged 3 years; 40.9% for those with children aged 4 years; 43.2% for those with children aged 5 years; and 41.4% for those with children aged 6 years. These results indicate that the younger the children are, the more exposed they are to smartphones and gaming devices in addition to TVs, video/DVD devices, and PCs in their everyday life.

However, regarding tablet ownership, only around 30% of families with children of all age groups use tablets, showing no differences among age groups, indicating that the majority of families still do not have tablets.


Figure 1-1-1 Media ownership rate of families by children's age group
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Higher smartphone ownership among younger mothers, while varied gaming device ownership between mothers aged 34 and below and 35 and above

Table 1-1-3 shows the breakdown of media ownership among mothers of young children by age group. We would like to focus on the significant disparities of 10 points or more between the highest and lowest scores among mothers of different age groups. The older the mothers, the more they own mobile phones, while the younger the mothers, the more they own smartphones and console-type gaming players.

Mothers' ownership of mobile phones is 26.1% for those aged 29 years and below; 36.0% for those aged between 30 and 34 years; 44.9% for those aged between 35 and 39 years; and 56.4% for those aged 40 years and above. In contrast, mothers' ownership of smartphones is 80.2% for those aged 29 years and below; 67.4% for those aged between 30 and 34 years; 58.7% for those aged between 35 and 39 years; and 47.2% for those aged 40 years and above. Although it is not shown in the table, considering the fact that only 3-7% of mothers of all ages use both mobile phones and smartphones, the younger the mothers, the more prominent was the shift from mobile phones to smartphones in terms of mobile media use.

Meanwhile, the percentage of households with console-type gaming players is 61.0% for those with mothers aged 29 or below; 57.4% for those with mothers aged between 30 and 34 years; 43.3% for those with mothers aged between 35 and 39 years; and 36.5% for those with mothers aged 40 years and above. In contrast, the percentage of households with handheld gaming players is 58.7% for those aged 29 years and below; 58.8% for those aged between 30 and 34 years; 46.0% for those aged between 35 and 39 years; and 39.2% for those aged 40 years and above. These results indicate a remarkable disparity in ownership between mothers aged 34 years and below and those aged 35 years and above.


Table 1-1-3 Media ownership rate among mothers by age group
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Table 1-1-4 shows the breakdown of media ownership by families with young children according to age and enrollment/type of preschool. There is a significant disparity of 10 points or more in terms of smartphone ownership among mothers of different groups according to enrollment/type of preschool. The percentage of mothers who have smartphones is 57.4% for those with children aged between 1 and 3 years who do not attend preschool; 70.3% for those with children aged between 1 and 3 years who attend day-care centers; 52.2% for those with children aged 4 and 6 years who attend kindergartens; and 65.8% for those with children aged 4 and 6 years who attend day-care centers. These results revealed the fact that smartphone ownership is higher among mothers whose children attend day-care centers.


Table 1-1-4 Media ownership rate in households according to children's age and type of preschool
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10% of 4 year-olds, about 20% of 5 year-olds and aboout 30% of 6 year-olds have their own handheld gaming devices

How many families have mobile media solely for their children? Table 1-1-5 shows the percentages of children who have their own mobile media according to age groups. In terms of tablets, smartphones, and mobile phones, more than 90% of the families with children of all ages do not have mobile media solely for their children.


Table 1-1-5 Children's ownership rate of mobile media by age group
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However, with respect to handheld gaming players, the total percentage of families who have such devices newly bought for their children or hand-me-down devices given by their parents is 10.1% for those aged 4 years, 18.3% for those aged 5 years, and 29.7% for those aged 6 years. The percentage of families with children aged between 4 and 6 years who have hand-me-down gaming devices given by their parents is about 10%, while the percentage of families who bought new gaming devices for their children increased as their age went up (Figure 1-1-2).


Figure 1-1-2 Children's ownership rate of handheld gaming devices by age group
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More families with young children are choosing interactive customizable media devices with video functions

Smartphones and console-type gaming players are devices that easily allow users to enjoy interactive communications and video functions according to their preference. This survey revealed that the younger the mothers were, the more likely it was that the family owned interactive customizable media devices such as smartphones and gaming devices.

With respect to media devices owned and used exclusively by children, families tended to own only handheld gaming players at the present stage. It is necessary to continue watching whether the ownership of hand-me-down devices from their parents or newly bought devices increases or not, as tablets and smartphones prevail.

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