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[Survey of Media Use by Children and Parents] 1-3. Daily Activity Time


If we look into a typical day in the lives of young children, they are involved in a wide range of activities such as playing outdoors, playing with toys or media devices, and suchlike. Although the survey revealed that the frequency of gaming player use increased as the children became older, there was no major difference among age groups regarding the length of time they spent using smartphones and tablet devices.

Young children are engaged in a variety of daily activities. Regarding their media use, a greater amount of time is spent with TV and videos/DVDs than other types of media device

Figure 1-3-1 shows the daily schedule of young children (aged between 6 months and 6 years) on weekdays by 11 categories. If we look at the results (in descending order of the amount of time which is spent exceeding 1 hour a day on weekdays); "playing with toys" is 85.0%, watching TV programs is 75.7%, "playing outdoors and taking a walk" is 73.1%, "watching videos/DVDs" is 30.2%, and "reading picture books/books/visual dictionaries" is 24.2%. The results indicate that young children are involved in a wide range of activities in their everyday lives.

Figure 1-3-1 Activity time on a weekday (0-6 year-olds)

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Regarding the amount of time children spend watching TV, those who watch "30 minutes or less" to "3 hours or more" range from 20% to 30%, which indicates considerable variation among different families. The highest percentage is 28.5% for "about 2 hours" but about 50% of children watch TV for 2 hours or more. The results show that there is considerable divergence among families in terms of TV watching time. For "watching videos/DVDs", the highest percentage is "30 minutes or less" for 37.8% followed by "none" for 29.7%.

With respect to all the other media devices, "None" was the highest percentage followed by "30 minutes or less." Regarding tablet devices, 80% of the respondents' children don't use them and about 10% of them use them for "30 minutes or less." As for smartphones, 60% of them don't use them and about 30% of them use them for "30 minutes or less." As for gaming players, both console and handheld types, 90 % of the children don't use them and 10% or less use them for "30 minutes or less."

As children grow older, they tend to spend less time watching "videos/DVDs" or reading "picture books/books/visual dictionaries"

Now we look at the results by age groups, since the daily activity time is likely to vary depending on the age of children. We discuss here the cases of children aged 2 and 6 years.

As for children aged 2 years (as shown in Figure 1-3-2), the results are as follows (in descending order of the amount of time which is spent exceeding 1 hour a day on weekdays): "playing with toys" is 92.4%, watching TV programs is 82.3%, "playing outdoor and taking a walk" is 81.2%, "watching videos/DVDs" is 43.6% and "reading picture books/books/visual dictionaries" is 32.1%. We would like to look into the results in further detail since 2 year-olds tend to watch TV programs and videos/DVDs for longer periods than other age groups ("3rd/4th Questionnaire on Daily Life of Children in Japan" by Benesse Educational Research and Development Institute).

Figure 1-3-2 Activity time on a weekday (2 year-olds)

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Looking at the breakdown of the viewing time, 30.7% of 2 year-olds watch TV programs for "about 2 hours" and 27.5% for "about 1 hour," which adds up to almost 60% in total. Regarding "videos/DVDs," 38.8% of children watch them "30 minutes or less" and 31.0% of children watch them for "about 1 hour," which is about 70% in total. As for tablet devices, 80% of children don't use them and about 10% of children use them for "30 minutes or less." As for the use of smartphones, 57.6% of children don't use them at all and 35.1% of children use them for "30 minutes or less." Regarding gaming players (both console and handheld types), they are very rarely used by 2 year-olds.

As for 6 year-olds (shown in Figure 1-3-3), the results are as follows (in descending order of the amount of time which is spent exceeding 1 hour a day on weekdays): 85.6% spend more than 1 hour "watching TV," 84.6% do "playing outdoor and taking a walk," 69.7% spend time "playing with toys," 29.4% "watch videos/DVDs," and 28.2% spend time "drawing." Compared to 2 year-olds, 6 year-olds spend lesser amounts of time watching "videos/DVDs," playing "with toys" and reading "picture books/books/visual dictionaries," while they spend more time on "drawing," playing games on a "console player" or "handheld player." For gaming players, 8.2% of them spend more than 1 hour playing with console-type gaming players and 11.2% of them play with handheld types, which indicates that about 10% of 6 year-olds use gaming players for more than 1 hour a day. As for tablet devices and smartphones, 10% of the children use a tablet device for "30 minutes or less" and 30% of them use smartphones for "30 minutes or less" a day.

Figure 1-3-3 Activity time on a weekday (6 year-olds)

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As children grow older, they spend less time watching videos/DVDs and spend more time playing games on a handheld gaming player.

Now we look at the use on weekdays according to the children's age group regarding "TV programs," "videos/DVDs," "handheld gaming player " and "smartphones" of families that own the media devices.

As for TV viewing (as shown in Figure 1-3-4), the greatest length of time for all age groups from 1 to 6 year-olds was "about 2 hours," mostly ranging around 30%, with the exception of 1 year-olds. About 70-80% of children of all age groups, apart from those aged 6 to 12 months, watch TV for 2 hours or less a day. 3 year-olds watch the longest; about 1 out of 3 children (27.9%) watch TV for more than 3 hours a day. For children aged between 6 to 12 months, while 20% answered that their children don't watch TV at all, almost 40% of them watch TV for 1 hour or more a day.

Figure 1-3-4 Children's daily time of use in families owning TV

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Regarding the hours of watching "videos/DVDs" (as shown in Figure 1-3-5), 2 year-olds and 3 year-olds watch the longest and it becomes steadily less as children grow older. For 2 and 3 year-olds, about 30% of children watch for "about 1 hour", which shows the highest percentage. For 4 to 6 year-olds, the greatest time length was "about 30 minutes," with 20-30% of them watching videos/DVDs. Over 70% of those aged 6 to 12 months answered "none" and only about 10% of them watch 30 minutes or more, indicating that very few children aged between 6 to 12 months watch videos/DVDs. However, while about 30% of 1 year-olds answered "none," 24.1% of them watch for more than 1 hour, which shows there is a polarized tendency for the 1 year-olds.

Figure 1-3-5 Children's daily time of use in families owning videos/DVDs

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As for handheld gaming players (shown in Figure 1-3-6), more than 80% of children aged between 6 months and 3 years don't use them, which indicates that handheld gaming players are not generally used among those age groups. The percentage of handheld gaming player use gradually increases as the age surpasses 4, rising as high as 64.8% at the age of six. Among those 6 year-olds, 23.7% or about 1 in 5 use handheld gaming players for more than 1 hour.

Figure 1-3-6 Children's daily time of use in families owning handheld gaming players

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With respect to smartphones (shown in Figure 1-3-7), about half of the children aged between 1 and 6 years answered "none." The greatest time length of use was "less than 15 minutes," ranging between 20 and 30%. For children aged between 6 to 12 months, 80% of them answered "none," and about 10% of them are exposed to smartphones for 15 minutes or less ("less than 15 minutes" + "about 15 minutes").

Figure 1-3-7 Children's daily time of use in families (father/mother/child) owning smartphones

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