Study: Even the Youngest Children Besieged by TV

May 8, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Television | Youth & Gen X

Some 75% of young children (age 0-6) watch television each day, often in their own bedrooms, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) (via Reuters).

The study, “Digital Childhood: Electronic Media and Technology Use Among Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers,” also found that one-fifth of U.S. children age 0-2, and more than one-third of 3-6-year-olds, have a TV in their bedroom.

Findings about media ownership:

  • Television ownership among the surveyed families was nearly universal: 99.5% for children aged 0-2, 98.4% for children aged 3-4, 98% for children aged 5-6.
  • Among households with a television set present, the average number of working televisions was 2.53, 2.78, and 2.98 for the 3 age groups, respectively.
  • Fairly large proportions of very young children had televisions in their bedrooms. This was true of almost one fifth (18%) of the 0-2-year-olds and more than one third of 3-4-year-olds (43%) and 5-6-year-olds (37%).
  • Half (51%) of all children with a television in their bedroom had access to cable or satellite channels.
  • VCR/DVD players were also nearly universal in the surveyed homes; computer ownership was 80%; and approximately half of the households had a videogame console.

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Findings about media use:

  • Most of the children watched television on a “typical day” – 63% of 0-2-year-olds, 82% of 3-4-year-olds, and 78% of 5-6-year-olds – for an average of 1 hour and 19 minutes.
  • Approximately one third of children watched videos or DVDs on a typical day, and they spent an average of 1 hour and 18 minutes viewing them.
  • Few children – 2%, 13%, and 16% for ages 0-2, 3-4, and 5-6, respectively – played videogames on a typical day. Those who did averaged 55 minutes of pay time.
  • Approximately 4% of 0-2-year-olds, 20% of 3-4-year-olds, and 27% of 5-6-year-olds used the computer on a typical day – on average for 50 minutes.

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The study’s authors surveyed a randomly selected representative sample of 1,051 parents with children up to six years ald about household media and technology ownership, access and use, and adherence to the AAP’s recommendations (that children under age 2 not view television or other electronic media, and that older children be limited to two hours of media exposure each day).

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