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[Survey of Media Use by Children and Parents] 1-2. Situation of Weekly Media Use by Children


In this section, we look into the frequency of media use by young children per week. The results of the survey revealed that 91.0% of children aged 1 watch TV programs almost every day, and 47.5% of children aged 3 watch videos and DVDs almost every day. The frequency of smartphone use is high among children aged between 2 and 3 years, and more than 20% of children aged 2 years whose mother uses a smartphone are using smartphones "almost every day." The frequency of gaming player use increased as children got older.

91.0% of 1-year-olds watch TV programs and 47.5% of 3 year-olds watch videos and DVDs almost every day

How often do young children watch or use media devices per week? 55% or more than half of the children between 6 months and 1-year-old watch TV programs (recorded programs included) "almost every day," while the percentage for children aged 1 and above has reached almost 90% (as shown in Fig.1-2-1). These results indicate that TV programs have deeply penetrated the everyday lives of young children. In addition, as recorded programs are included in this survey, children are possibly watching recorded programs regardless of the airtime, using different means including not only TVs but also PCs and mobile media.

Figure 1-2-1 TV programs (recorded programs included)

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Figure 1-2-2 shows the dispersion of frequency of video/DVD use by children aged 1 and above, ranging from "almost every day," "3-4 days a week," "1-2 days a week," to "very rarely." The percentage of children who watch videos/DVDs "almost every day" is high among children aged between 2 and 3 years: 43.6% for those aged 2 years and 47.5% for those aged 3 years. Similar results have been provided by the "3rd Questionnaire Survey on Young Children's Life Style" (published by the Benesse Educational Research and Development Institute in 2005). In this latest survey, 50-60% of children aged between 2 and 3 years are not attending preschool, and over 90% of children aged 4 years and older are attending preschool. Since children between 2 and 3 years of age are likely to spend more time with their parents at home, they are likely to have more time to watch videos and DVDs.

Figure 1-2-2 Videos/DVDs

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High smartphone use among 2 to 3 year-olds, while the older the more frequent use of gaming players

Now what about the frequency of new media use by young children? Although some families do not own media devices and others do, we will examine the overall frequency first.

Figure 1-2-3 shows the frequency of tablet use. The percentage of children aged 3 and above who use tablets "almost every day" or "very rarely" add up to about 20%. Figure 1-2-4 shows the frequency of smartphone use. The percentage of children who use smartphones "almost every day" or "very rarely" is 11.2% of those aged between 6 months and 1 year; 36.3% of those aged 1 year; 47.6% of those aged 2 years; 52.2% of those aged 3 years; 50.1% of those aged 4 years; 46.8% of those aged 5 years; and 46.8% of those aged 6 years, indicating the fact that over 40% of children age above 2 years use smartphones.

The percentage of children who use smartphones "almost every day" is high among those aged between 2 and 3 years: 13.8% for those aged 2 years and 14.7% for those aged 3 years. As is the case with videos and DVDs, children aged between 2 and 3 years are likely to spend more time with their parents at home, and are thus likely to have more time to use smartphones.

Figure 1-2-3 Tablet device

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Figure 1-2-4 Smartphone

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Figures 1-2-5 and 1-2-6 show the frequency of gaming player use by young children (including children of families without such devices). The percentage of children who use console-type gaming players, ranging from "almost every day" to "very rarely" is 0.9% for those aged between 6 months and 1 year; 1.5% for those aged 1 year; 3.7% for those aged 2 years; 7.7% for those aged 3 years; 17.2% for those aged 4 years; 26.4% for those aged 5 years; and 32.4% for those aged 6 years. In contrast, the percentage of children who use handheld gaming players with different frequency options is 1.5% for those aged between 6 months and 1 year; 2.7% for those aged 1 year; 7.4% for those aged 2 years; 9.8% for those aged 3 years; 19.1% for those aged 4 years; 27.3% for those aged 5 years; and 37.1% for those aged 6 years, indicating the fact that the older the children, the more frequently they use gaming players.

It should be noted that children of all age groups who use console-type gaming players "very rarely" is high, while the percentage of children who use handheld gaming players "almost every day" increased as they got older. As we have discussed in Section 1, the percentage of children who have their own handheld gaming players increased as they got older; therefore, it can be considered that the frequency of gaming device use increases as more children have their own gaming devices when they grow older.

Figure 1-2-5 Console-type gaming player

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Figure 1-2-6 Handheld gaming player

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Over 20% of children aged 2, whose mother uses a smartphone, are using smartphones "almost every day"

Now we look at the frequency of media use per week by children of families that own media devices, namely tablets, smartphones and handheld gaming players.

Figure 1-2-7 shows the percentage of children who use tablets ranging from "almost every day" to "1-2 days a week" is 7.9% for those aged above 6 months and below 1 year; 22.4% for those aged 1 year; 39.9% for those aged 2 years; 42.1% for those aged 3 years; 39.3% for those aged 4 years; 43.9% for those aged 5 years; and 46.8% for those aged 6 years. In particular, the percentage of children who use tablets "almost every day" is 19.3% for those aged 3 years and 17.7% for those aged 4 years. Figure 1-2-8 shows the percentage of children who use smartphones (limited to those whose mothers are smartphone users), ranging from "almost every day" to "1-2 days a week." 5.8% of those aged between 6 months and 1-year-old; 29.1% of those aged 1; 42.3% of those aged 2; 44.8% of those aged 3; 35.1% of those aged 4; 36.9% of those aged 5; and 40.1% of those aged 6 use smartphones that often. The percentage of children who use smartphones "almost every day" is 22.1% for those aged 2 years and 21.6% for those aged 3 years.

Figure 1-2-7 Frequency of tablet use per week by children of families owning tablets

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Figure 1-2-8 Frequency of smartphone use per week by children of mothers using smartphones

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Figure 1-2-9 shows the percentage of children who use handheld gaming players, ranging from "almost every day" to "1-2 days a week" is 0.9% for those aged between 6 months and 1-year-old; 1.2% for those aged 1; 4.2% for those aged 2; 9.3% for those aged 3; 18.1% for those aged 4; 35.6% for those aged 5; and 57.8% for those aged 6, indicating the fact that the frequency of children's gaming player use increased as they got older. In particular, the frequency of gaming device use increased sharply for those aged 4 years and above. The percentage of children who use handheld gaming players "almost every day" is 15.5% for those aged 5 years and 22.6% for those aged 6 years.

Figure 1-2-9 Frequency of handheld gaming player use per week by children of families owning them

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Will the selective use of new media occur among young children in their everyday life?

The results of the survey revealed that compared to other age groups, children aged between 2 and 3 years are more likely to use smartphones "almost every day" and children aged 3 years and above are more likely to use tablets if their mother or family members own such media devices. Smartphones and tablets differ in size and weight. Although careful consideration should be given, these results may be influenced by the parents' idea of when, where and the intention with which they allow their children to use applications/software according to their age and device functions. With the diffusion of new media devices, further research is needed on the selective use of new media devices in the everyday life of young children.

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