Project B3 loves all the data and info that comes from Common Sense Media. They did a census last year called Common Sense Media Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens. The report analyzed broad trends in how kids ages 8 to 18 consume media, from reading books to social media to mobile games. The report is based on a nationally representative online survey of 1,677 U.S. young people age 8 to 18 years old, conducted from March 11 to April 3, 2019.
The San Francisco based non-profit, which specializes in children and the media, found that on average, 8 to 12-year-olds spend nearly five hours per day on screens for entertainment. And teens spend an average of just under seven and a half hours per day on screens. (That doesn’t include time spent for school or homework.)
According to the Census, teens from higher-income homes tend to spend less time on screens than those from lower-income households. More economically advantaged teens spend almost four hours a day on screen media, compared to nearly 6 hours for lower-income teens.
By age 11, the majority of kids have their own smartphone. And by age 12, more than two thirds of kids do. What’s more, nearly 20 percent of 8-year-olds have their own smartphone. 84 percent of teens have a smartphone, up from just 67 percent, four years ago.
Kids are owning smartphones at younger ages and spending more and more time on them, per day. There is a large gap between high income and low income students in terms of computer ownership and usage, but most young people do have access to a smartphone.
The census had a pretty major result when it came down to the biggest change in young people’s media consumption over the past years: videos. The percentage of 8- to 12-year-olds who report watching videos online “every day” has more than doubled in the past four years, going from 24 percent in 2014 to 56 percent in 2019. And the percentage of teens who say they watch online videos every day has jumped from 34 percent in 2015 to 69 percent this year.
YouTube is very popular. And even though the site says it is meant for children aged 13 and over, 76 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds say they use it regularly.
The Census results found that, “Students are also unlikely to use their smartphones or computers to create new content.” Just 10 percent of teens and 9 percent of tweens say they really enjoy making their own digital art or graphics. And only 4 percent of tweens and 5 percent of teens are big fans of creating digital music, and only 4 percent of tweens and 3 percent of teens really like using their devices for coding. By contrast, 67 percent of tweens and 58 teens say they really enjoy watching online videos.”
According to Michael Robb, the senior director at of research at Common Sense Media, “That means it is even more important for educators and parents to help kids develop the skills and disposition necessary and thoughtfully engage with the online world. What are those habits that you have to get into to be a good global citizen. How do I not plagiarize? There’s a lot of skills that aren’t necessarily going to be learned just through experience and need to be formally taught and informally.”
“That’s despite the fact that technology companies often market their devices as capable of unleashing kids’ creativity,” Robb noted.
“I think for a long time many technologies have been sold with this promise of how much they are going to enable us to create. [But] consumption just crushes creation,” he said. “It begs the question of what are these devices really for? Primarily they are just consumption devices.”
*Project B3 knows our tweens and teens are capable of much more than watching YouTube for 1/2 their day!!! Stay tuned to Project B3’s website and blog to see how we are gearing up to turn our young community into creators!*