Children’s Media Use in America – 2013 Report

Common Sense Media 2013 report finding

Check out the other survey findings.

Common Sense Media has published a 2013 report on young children and their access and use of mobile media devices, Zero to Eight, Children’s Media Use in America 2013. The new research study aims to get a reading on how media use has changed since the the organization completed and published  its 2011 media and children study. Common Sense Media plans to redo this research biennially and publish the collected data.

The 2013 results are based on a nationally representative survey of parents with children under eight years of age. Researchers surveyed 1,463 parents utilizing the same methodology that was used in the 2011 survey and making sure that African-American and Latino representation was large enough to ensure statistically valid conclusions. To further ensure reliability of the data, investigators provided devices and Internet access to survey participants when necessary.

Several of the Most Interesting 2013 Findings

  • The survey data indicate that almost twice as many children, eight years and younger now use mobile media when compared to the 2011 Common Sense Media results.
  • Television, DVD, and video game use on traditional screens is decreasing, but television still dominates.
  • Although access to mobile media for poor and underserved children has increased since the 2011 survey, a digital divide still exists.

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Do Today’s Digital Kids Learn Differently?

Image from Children, Teans, and Entertainment Media: The View from the Classroom

Image from Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media: The View from the Classroom

In case you missed it, check out the November 1, 2012 New York Times article, Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say.

Technology reporter Matt Richtel shares information about two recent studies that examine, on the basis of educator surveys, how today’s digital children may be learning differently than in the past. Although individual responses are subjective, the results of the surveys “are considered significant because of the vantage points of teachers who spend hours a day observing students.”

One survey, conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, examined responses from 2,462 teachers. The other, conducted by Common Sense Media, surveyed 685 educators.

It all comes down to attention span. In both surveys teachers expressed concern that students, used to  fast-paced, always changing activities, are less able to focus on an academic task for a prolonged period.

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Another Tragedy for Digital Kids to Absorb — Aurora, Colorado

Watch the video at Common Sense Media.

Yet again we are living through a horrible tragedy, this time in Aurora, Colorado, and this incident is extra frightening because the shooting and killing occurred as people went about normal activities in a movie theater. What’s more a part of kids’ daily lives than movie theaters?

Any connected child or adolescent can learn about this event and others via a digital device or television. In the digital world, the news cycle never stops, and most children do not possess the media literacy skills to evaluate the sources of information. The traditional walls that used to insulate kids from information about violent events just aren’t that thick anymore.

What are digital parents and teachers to do?

If you need support or at least some extra perspective before you initiate a parent-child conversation in your family, check out a video, Explaining the News to Our Kids, over at the Common Sense Media. This short presentation provides thoughtful suggestions that can help adults get started with difficult conversations about the news when scary and discomforting events occur.

Read 10 Simple Steps to Internet Safety at Common Sense Media

Check out 10 Simple Steps to Internet Safety over at the Common Sense Media website. Actually it looks like there are eleven items for parents to review at the page.

As always, Common Sense Media hits the nail on the head with clear, well written, and to-the-point parenting information. I’ve inserted a list of the questions.

Pay special attention to the two questions that I’ve listed below:

  • How do I teach my kids to recognize online advertising?
  • Should I let my kid get a Facebook page?

Can We Stop Confusing Kids’ Privacy with Transparency?

Our digital society hasn’t figured out what to do about privacy. More importantly, it hasn’t figured what to do about the privacy of our kids — we keep confusing privacy with transparency.

It’s problematic enough that adults are diving willy-nilly into the digital world, sharing everything about themselves, private and not so private, but it’s even worse to observe a world where everything a child does and almost every mistake he or she makes is now public. These days we are giving children and adolescents no cover and no protection as they blithely explore the digital world while making what in any other era would be common and developmentally appropriate errors.

Lest I sound like a digital Luddite, I’m not. I love participating in the activities of my digital world, actively but moderately, and I have an arsenal of digital gadgets in my purse, book bag, and lying around my house. As an educator, however, I am keenly aware of how much we are forgetting to nurture and honor kids’ developmental stages as they grow up in this digitally dense world. Part of solving that problem involves ensuring that children have a guaranteed amount of privacy.

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