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[Survey of Media Use by Children and Parents] 1-7. Relationships with Friends


When playing with friends, children play with toys, play outdoors, read picture books more than watching TV programs or videos/DVDs. Children attending preschools played more together doing these activities. On the other hand, the percentage of application or software use with friends is low regardless of the attendance/types of facilities children attend. It seems that they have just started to be in use at home.

Young children tend to play with toys, play outdoors, and read picture books together with their friends

To what extent is media use included in young children's activities with their friends? We asked the children about the kind of activities they take part in and how often they are engaged with those activities with their friends including what they do in kindergarten or day-care center. The result (as shown in Figure 1-7-1) is shown in descending order of higher percentage by the activities they take part in "almost every day" with their friends; 54.5% for "playing with toys," 48.9% for "playing outdoors and taking a walk," 42.9% for "reading picture books/books/visual dictionaries," 35.7% for "watching TV," 32.7% for "drawing." In contrast, more than 70% answered "almost none" for "watching video apps," "using apps/software of learning kana, numbers, English, and drawing," and "using game apps/software." They are less likely to be taken part in with friends, which is a common tendency also noted in Section 3 "Daily Activity Time."

Figure 1-7-1 Frequency of playing with friends per week

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About 60% of children aged 4 and older watch TV together with their friends; however, as for watching videos/DVDs, those at the age of 4 recorded a peak of 40%. It is less common to use apps/software with their friends

Figure 1-7-2 shows the total percentages of the activities done by friends "almost every day" and "3 to 4 days a week" arranged by children's age. "Playing with toys," "playing outdoors and taking a walk," and "reading picture books/books/visual dictionaries are the three most popular activities across all age groups apart from those aged between 6 months to 12 months. More than 80% of children aged 4 and above, of whom 90% go to kindergarten or day-care centers are often engaged in those three activities. "Drawing" also recorded a high percentage, as much as the top three activities for children above age 4. With respect to "watching TV," 11.4% for children aged between 6 months to 12 months 25.0% for those aged 1, about 60% for those age 4 and above watch it with friends, which indicates that children start to watch it with their friends from an early stage but thereafter it shows a gradual increase. With respect to watching videos/DVDs, the data reaches a peak of 42.7% at the age of 4. In contrast, as for "watch video apps," "use apps/software of learning kana, numbers, English and drawing," and "use game apps/software," children of all age groups recorded less than 15%, indicating a low percentage for taking part in the activities with friends.

Figure 1-7-2 Frequency of playing with friends per week (by children's age groups)

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Children who attend preschool tend to play with toys, play outdoors, and read picture books with friends. The frequency of using apps/software is not influenced by their enrollment/type of preschool

We now look into the frequency of children's activities with friends by age group and by their enrollment/type of preschool (as shown in Table 1-7-1.) As for the total figures of "almost every day" and "3 to 4 days a week," the percentages for "playing outdoors and taking a walk" and "reading picture books/books/visual dictionaries" are 80 to 90% among the children aged between 1 to 3 who attend day-care center, and 80% to 90% of those aged 4 to 6 who attend kindergarten or day-care center. With respect to the percentage of "drawing," it records over 70% among children aged between 1 to 3 who attend day-care center, as well as for those aged 4 to 6 who attend kindergarten or day-care center. It seems that those activities tend to be taken part in with friends at kindergarten or day-care center. As for "watching TV," the percentage is 50 to 60% among children aged between 1 to 3 who attend day-care center, as well as for those aged 4 to 6 who attend kindergarten or day-care center. The percentage of "watching videos/DVDs" is around 30% among children aged between 1 to 3 who attend day-care center, as well as for those aged 4 to 6 who attend kindergarten or day-care center. It is also possible that these activities are being taken part in with friends at some kindergartens or day-care centers.

On the other hand, with respect to the items "watch video apps," "use apps/software of kana, numbers, English, and drawing," and "use game apps/software," not much difference was observed according to the children's enrollment/type of preschool. Therefore, it seems that apps/software have only just begun to be used at home by young children and not yet in kindergartens or day-care centers, let alone being used with friends at preschool.

Table 1-7-1 Frequency of playing with friends per week (by children's age and enrollment/type of preschool)

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Occasionally, children aged between 2 to 6 use "video apps" with friends and 4 to 6 year-olds use "game apps/software" with friends

Table 1-7-2 shows the details of the frequency of use arranged by children's age regarding "watch video apps," "use apps/software of kana, numbers, English, and drawing," and "use game apps/software." With respect to the items "from 1 to 2 days a week to almost every day," more than 10% of the children aged 2 and above use "video apps" and the 20.5% recorded by 4-year-olds is the highest percentage. With respect to "use game apps/software," more than 10% of the children aged 2 and above use it "from 1 to 2 days a week to almost every day." The percentage increases as the age goes up, reaching 23.1% at the age of 6. However, as for the use of "apps/software of kana, numbers, English, and drawing," the frequency is low in general with only 10.1% at age 4 being the highest among all. Children aged between 2 to 6 use "video apps" with friends and those aged 4 to 6 use "game apps/software" with friends more than once or twice a week, but the percentage was around 20% at most. A similar tendency was observed with the time-length of application or software use described in Section 6.

Table 1-7-2 Frequency of apps/software use with friends per week (by children's age groups)

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