Tech Trends

Report: 2 in 5 Kids 8 and Under Have Their Own Tablets

Nearly half — 42 percent — of children eight years old or younger have their own tablet. That number is up from just 1 percent in 2011.

Nearly half — 42 percent — of children eight years old or younger have their own tablet, according to a new report from Common Sense. That number is up from just 1 percent in 2011.

Dubbed the Common Sense Census: Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight, the report is based on a survey of 1,454 parents and is the third in a series, the first two installments of which were published in 2011 and 2013.

Key findings of the latest installment include:

  • Children eight and younger are spending an average of 48 minutes per day with mobile devices, up from just five in 2011;
  • 95 percent of families with young children have a smartphone, up from 63 percent in 2013 and 41 percent in 2011;
  • 78 percent have a tablet, up 38 points from 2013 and 70 points over 2011;
  • Families with children under nine years old are more likely to have a subscription video service, such as Netflix, than a cable subscription, at 72 and 65 percent, respectively;
  • According to respondents, about half, 49 percent, of their young children watch videos or play video games in the hour before bedtime;
  • 10 percent of kids age eight and under have a toy that connects to the internet and 9 percent have a voice-activated virtual assistant, such as Amazon's Alexa, in their home;
  • Since 2011, the gap between lower- and higher-income families with internet access has shrunk from 50 percentage points to 22, with 74 percent of lower income parents reporting they have internet access this year;
  • In the same time span, the gap between lower- and higher-income families with a mobile device has virtually disappeared, falling to just 3 percentage points;
  • Children from lower-income homes spent an average of three hours and 29 minutes with screen media each day, compared to one hour an 50 minutes for children form higher-income families;
  • Children whose parents had less education watched an average of two hours and 50 minutes of screen media each night and children with more educated parents spent an average of one hour 37 minutes with screen media each day;
  • 96 percent of lower-income families reported having a mobile device in the home, compared to just 34 percent in 2011; and
  • 40 percent of children in both lower-income and higher-income homes had their own tablet, compared to 45 percent of middle income homes.

"In today's tech-driven world, where things are moving so quickly, it is really important to step back and take a hard look at what technology kids are using and how they are using it," said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense, in a prepared statement. "Over the last six years, we have seen massive growth in media use and tablet ownership, and we haven't even begun to experience the explosion of new technologies like virtual reality and voice-activated assistants in our homes. If we want to ensure our kids develop well and are successful in life, we have to make sure they get the most out of tech while protecting them from potential risks — and that means paying close attention to the role media is playing in their lives."

The full report is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at

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