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Education United States

42% of Americans Under 8 Have Their Own Tablet (axios.com) 221

A reader shares an Axios report: A whopping 42% of children ages 0-8 have their own tablet device, up from less than 1% in 2011, according to Common Sense Media's newest national "Media Use by Kids" census. Families with young children are now more likely to have a subscription video service such as Netflix or Hulu (72%) than they are to have cable TV (65%). 10% of kids age 8 or under own a "smart" toy that connects to the internet and 9% have a voice-activated virtual assistant device available to them in the home, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home.
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42% of Americans Under 8 Have Their Own Tablet

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  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @11:51AM (#55424499)

    Not too surprising. Just as the Boomers, were suck in front of the TV, Gen X were given Video Games, Menials have Cell Phones. It makes scene that today's kids have the newest technology to pacify them. We can tout bad parenting... But in truth having an outlet where the child is out of your hands for an hour or so, it overall beneficial. Kids before that technology were just beaten if they were too much of a problem... So having a kid, watch a movie on a tablet in terms of perspective is a good thing.

    • I didn't spend my youth in front of a video games or TV along with most of the people I went to school with. It's more than generational but also location I grew up in a small mid-west town that didn't have cable until 1988.

      I had a friend that wanted to do a long term study of outcomes for children that had access to technology in the early to mid 90s. He talked about it the entire time I worked with him from about 92-95. He thought that the kids in his classes that were more familiar with technology did be

      • Well remember the key demographics of this Article is 8 and under.
        So this is normally children who are in second grade or less. And not all kids are put in front of technology, they may be in an environment where they have other kids to play with, or a sitter and given more wholesome activities to be involved with, you could have a super parent who took care of you at the point of mental breakdown. But the point is, most parents need some sort or activity to keep a child relaxed as they recharge themselves

    • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @12:16PM (#55424683)

      Yep. Our 5 year old has my old tablet. But that doesn't mean he is glued to it 12 hours a day. He probably uses it about 1-2 hours a week such as on Saturday mornings when we just are not read to get up when he is. It is also very nice to load it with a few favorite movies for car trips. Even then he only watches maybe an hour or two's worth of movies/shows over 8 hours of driving.

      Like many things, there can be responsible use or irresponsible misuse. I see nothing wrong with modest amounts of TV watching, but I am also not about to use it as a baby sitter.

    • Kids before that technology were just beaten if they were too much of a problem... So having a kid, watch a movie on a tablet in terms of perspective is a good thing.

      Are you seriously arguing that access to tablets (or other electronic gadgets) is the reason children aren't being physically beaten? You have a very twisted view of the world my friend.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Actually, before TV most kids were sent out to play if the weather was at all suitable (which included light rain). Or sent to their room to play if it wasn't.

      One can argue that TV/Video Games/etc. are better than being sent to their room to play, but it's hard to argue that they're better than being sent outside to play. These days, though, its seen to be too dangerous. I'm not certain whether it *is* any more dangerous than it ever was, but it's definitely seen that way, and occasionally parent's have

    • Its generally better than TV, however. While kids might have Sesame Street to watch for an hour a day and the rest was regular brainless content, you can load up the tablet with a lot of educational apps to keep them "pacified" today other than just dumping them in front of Netflix. And even if it is Netflix, there are a lot of educational kids shows available on Netflix as well.

  • by RumGunner ( 457733 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @11:54AM (#55424525) Homepage

    Resistance was futile.

  • surprisingly low (Score:4, Informative)

    by smithcl8 ( 738234 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @12:06PM (#55424607)
    All the kids in my school district have iPads from Kindergarten on. They use the heck out of them, too. Make music, little stop-motion videos, a little coding stuff, and some math/reading games. I don't even have to push them to play those things.....they are just better than Mavis Beacon when I was younger.
  • Statistics not valid (Score:3, Informative)

    by rtfa0987 ( 1260014 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @12:14PM (#55424645)
    Only covers kids whose parents have email and are on some unspecified email list. "Methodology. This report presents the results of a nationally representative, probability-based online survey of 1,454 parents of children age 8 or under, conducted from Jan. 20, 2017, to Feb. 10, 2017. The survey was designed by Common Sense and VJR Consulting and fielded by the research firm GfK, using its KnowledgePanel©, a probability-based web panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population." https://www.commonsensemedia.o... [commonsensemedia.org] Aren't surveys fun?
  • In the 80's a sign of wealth was having multiple TV's. Main set in the living room and smaller sets for the kids and maybe in the bedroom.

    This is the same thing except it's a tablet and not a TV

    • Yeah we only have one TV because you don't really need more with tablets around, and they are far cheaper than the car entertainment systems. The parental controls on the Fire tablets are very granular for making sure they aren't just vegging out all day.
      • Yeah we only have one TV because you don't really need more with tablets around, and they are far cheaper than the car entertainment systems.

        Huh, hadn't thought of that. That probably explains why I still haven't installed the bedroom TV since we moved house, and that was three years ago. Guess, I'm getting a dual monitor setup after all for my gaming rig!
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Except that a tablet is not a sign of wealth. Entry level tablets are actually cheaper than many toys aimed at 8 yo kids. In fact, it is probably the cheapest way to keep them occupied.

      • Also sometimes parents don't buy them for kids. I see many kids' tablets are hand-me downs from the parents when they get new tablets. Or from other family members. These older tablets may not have the latest and greatest hardware but they don't need that for a younger child.
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        > Except that a tablet is not a sign of wealth. Entry level tablets are actually cheaper than many toys aimed at 8 yo kids.

        Also too expensive. You clearly have no idea what it's like to actually be poor.

        You just don't have it. It's not that you have it but you choose to squander it. You never had it to begin with.

        • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

          An entry-level tablet is less than $50. If live in a western country and can't afford to pay $50 for your kid, be it for a tablet or something else non essential, it means you are either at the level where your health is compromised or you have trouble keeping a budget.
          A tablet is the cheapest screen device you can get. Can't afford a TV, get a tablet. The hard part is the internet connection. If you can find a free WiFi, that's great, otherwise, maybe you can find a deal with your neighbors/roommates or so

  • ... then use it as an alarm-clock/potential WhatsApp/Facebook backup. ... That's what my daughter did with my old tablet anyway.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @12:28PM (#55424765)

    Families with young children are now more likely to have a subscription video service such as Netflix or Hulu (72%) than they are to have cable TV (65%).

    That's because cable TV is shit value for the money. It's (generally) tied to a physical location, requires special hardware to record and view at a time convenient to you (which they charge extra for), has a huge amount of really crappy programming, they refuse to make ala-carte channel selection an option, their streaming options (generally) suck, and it's very expensive. $40/month gets you a very basic selection of channels with not a lot of interesting programming and no archive of content to watch.

    In short:
    Hard to time shift
    Hard to location shift
    Expensive
    Crappy assortment of programming
    Wall to wall advertisements
    No archive of content to watch

    Is it really any wonder people are dropping cable?

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      Families with young children are now more likely to have a subscription video service such as Netflix or Hulu (72%) than they are to have cable TV (65%).

      That's because cable TV is shit value for the money. It's (generally) tied to a physical location, requires special hardware to record and view at a time convenient to you (which they charge extra for), has a huge amount of really crappy programming, they refuse to make ala-carte channel selection an option, their streaming options (generally) suck, and it's very expensive. $40/month gets you a very basic selection of channels with not a lot of interesting programming and no archive of content to watch.

      In short: Hard to time shift Hard to location shift Expensive Crappy assortment of programming Wall to wall advertisements No archive of content to watch

      Is it really any wonder people are dropping cable?

      Most of the big cable companies have phone apps now. Xfinity has been pushing advertisements for this on me for a while. They also seem to be working on the time shifting.

      That said, most cable channels are terrible value for money.

  • Parents First (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @12:30PM (#55424771)
    Parents need to remember that your kid is learning from your behavior. If you have your nose in your phone and tablet all day every day, you are teaching your kid that that is acceptable behavior. No matter how much you try to restrict their access to it, they are very likely to mimic you in the end. If you use a phone and tablet sparsely and put an emphasis on doing other things, the kid is much more likely to do the same. So, giving them a tablet isn't that huge of a deal so long as you yourself don't have one surgically attached at the hip.
  • Big deal (Score:4, Funny)

    by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @12:33PM (#55424787)

    Big deal, I had a tablet when I was 8 years old (57 years ago) too. It had 64 pages of lined paper and I put it to good use. Now get off my lawn!

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      Big deal, I had a tablet when I was 8 years old (57 years ago) too. It had 64 pages of lined paper and I put it to good use. Now get off my lawn!

      I would have been impressed if you had said graph paper. Oh well.

  • Almost all of them, 100% of them had an amoxicillin tablet sometime or the other. All it takes is one ear infection.
  • by Zorro ( 15797 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @12:34PM (#55424805)

    Ruining their eyes before they are even 10!

    There is a reason for the nearsightedness epidemic and it is mobile internet devices like tablets and cell phones.

    In Seoul 96.5% of 19-year-old men are short-sighted.

    The US is approaching that number.

    • Agree with AC to a degree, but I also feel that AC could have done a google instead of being an unhelpful twit: https://www.nature.com/news/th... [nature.com]
    • I also wouldn't be too surprised to hear that genetics is a significant factor; having been raised in a family of technologists (had my own computer from the time I was 8, and had been using them extensively since 5 or 6), I probably logged no less than 40-50% of the screen time of modern kids. I'm 30, and my vision hasn't substantially deteriorated (roughly 20/20, 20/30, and has been since my adolescence), even though my mother had become completely dependent on corrective lenses by this age (actually in h
      • Reading the article I linked in the other comment now, it does seem to point strongly towards genetics. We'll get there eventually, I'm sure.
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      > Ruining their eyes before they are even 10!

      That's funny.

      I have been hearing this bullshit my entire life. I have been doing all the wrong things for my entire life. The only time my eyes ever became a problem is due to being treated for cancer. The treatment and resulting maintenance drugs gave me cataracts.

      Although once those were blasted away, all is good.

      • Firstly, congrats on (i'm assuming) whipping the cancer. I believe the claim that it directly ruins the eyes to be a bit much, but there are also studies that suggest that significant screen time does have various effects on the developing brain. Improvement of eye-hand coordination associated with video games seems like a plus, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn of other effects associated with vision in the future.
    • by olau ( 314197 )

      Not directly.

      It might be due to lack of natural light [wikipedia.org], though.

    • Actually that South Korean stat was from before the age of tablets and phones. All the studies I read said they stayed inside too much and studied too much... even so far as to conclude that reduced sunlight exposure was the main cause of the nearsightedness.

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/k... [cbsnews.com]

      https://naturalon.com/sun-expo... [naturalon.com]

      https://www.marksdailyapple.co... [marksdailyapple.com]

      https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am a parent and my children use tablets daily. Each child has their own LeapFrog tablet full of educational apps and games. My toddler can count forward and backward from 1-50, understands there's a number zero, can actually count items, can recite the alphabet forward and backward (backward is a bit more difficult), can recognize numbers greater than 10 on signs and products, can draw some letters with varying success with pencil and paper, and a number of other impressive feats such as recognizing anima

  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @12:42PM (#55424845)

    First, this is now news. Second, could you possibly find a worse source of information on the subject? For example, how about this article from 2013: https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com... [nytimes.com]?

    Anyone that has a child knows not only that young children regularly use smartphones and tablet but also that school systems are regularly using tablets as educational tools. In fact, the school system my daughter is in requires it and has done so since the 2nd grade. This is not a new thing. This has been going on for several years. My daughter has been playing video games since she was 2 and started using a tablet around 4. By the time my daughter was 3, she was pretty good at Mario Kart for the WII.

    Some other things you might be surprised to know exist: 1) After school clubs for writing video games, 2) After school clubs for building robots, 3) Teachers using mobile apps to teach kids basic programming skills like hopscotch [gethopscotch.com]. Young kids soak this stuff up like a sponge and they're going to be running circles around many of the adults that are around now when they become adults.

    This should come as a surprise to no one, especially slashdot. The good paying jobs of the future are largely going to be in the STEM fields. School systems have modified their curriculum accordingly.

  • They can't appreciate it on as many levels as I can.
  • 42% of Americans under 8 will grow up to be socially awkward/avoidant/have social anxiety issues because they weren't properly socialized by age 8.
    • What do you mean by "weren't properly socialized"? When you were 8, did you have 283 Facebook friends? I didn't think so.

  • Do I take the red tablet or the blue tablet to get the hell out of here?
  • Moses would be so proud.
  • by Thruen ( 753567 ) on Tuesday October 24, 2017 @03:00PM (#55425791)

    In the last six years, a lot of parents have upgraded their tablets. My sister in law is one of them. She "gave" her old tablet to her son, he's only allowed to use it a few hours a week but for the purpose of this he'd be considered to have his own tablet. So this survey doesn't actually mean a lot.

    That said, letting electronics raise your child is a common practice and not a good thing. It's not new, the tablets are new but personally I grew up watching excessive television and that's really no better. It may even be worse as there's no real interaction with the television. The point is, this survey makes it sound like tablets are causing some new wave of neglectful parenting, but that's not the case at all they're just the new go-to distraction taking the place of the last one. I'm sure before television, there were other things parents would let children do that weren't good for them but got them out of the parents' hair. My thinking is, exposure to any of these things (tablets included) isn't inherently bad, and kids having their own isn't even bad, but anything in the absence of good parenting becomes a bad thing.

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