New Study Finds Children Age Zero to Six Spend as Much Time With TV, Computers and Video Games as Playing Outside

One in Four Children Under Two Have a TV in Their Bedroom



Children in 'Heavy' TV Households Are Less Likely to Read



Parents Believe in Educational Value of TV and Computers



Oct 28, 2003, 00:00 ET from Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Even the very youngest children in
 America are growing up immersed in media, spending hours a day watching TV and
 videos, using computers and playing video games, according to a new study
 released today by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Children six and
 under spend an average of two hours a day using screen media (1:58), about the
 same amount of time they spend playing outside (2:01), and well over the
 amount they spend reading or being read to (39 minutes).
     New interactive digital media have become an integral part of children's
 lives. Nearly half (48%) of children six and under have used a computer (31%
 of 0-3 year-olds and 70% of 4-6 year-olds). Just under a third (30%) have
 played video games (14% of 0-3 year-olds and 50% of 4-6 year-olds). Even the
 youngest children -- those under two -- are widely exposed to electronic
 media. Forty-three percent of those under two watch TV every day, and 26% have
 a TV in their bedroom (the American Academy of Pediatrics "urges parents to
 avoid television for children under 2 years old"). In any given day,
 two-thirds (68%) of children under two will use a screen media, for an average
 of just over two hours (2:05).
     "It's not just teenagers who are wired up and tuned in, it's babies in
 diapers as well," said Vicky Rideout, Vice President and Director of the
 Kaiser Family Foundation's Program for the Study of Entertainment Media and
 Health, the lead author of the study. "So much new media is being targeted at
 infants and toddlers, it's critical that we learn more about the impact it's
 having on child development."
     The study, Zero to Six:  Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants,
 Toddlers and Preschoolers, was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and
 the Children's Digital Media Centers. It is the first publicly released
 national study of media use among the very youngest children, from 6 months to
 six years old.
     "These are astonishing data. Today's preschoolers are starting to use
 media much younger than we thought," said study co-author Ellen Wartella, Dean
 of the College of Communication at the University of Texas. "Where previous
 generations were introduced to media through print, this generation's pathway
 is electronic. This is a trend we must follow."
 
     Bedroom media. A third of all 0-6 year-olds (36%) have a TV in their
 bedroom, more than one in four (27%) have a VCR or DVD, one in ten have a
 video game player, and 7% have a computer. Thirty percent of 0-3 year-olds
 have a TV in their room, and 43% of 4-6 year-olds do.
     "When children have TVs and other media in their bedrooms, it's more
 difficult for parents to monitor what they're doing," noted study co-author
 Elizabeth Vandewater, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at
 Austin. "The growing phenomenon of media in the bedroom and its impact on
 child development is a crucial area of future research."
 
     Computers. In a typical day about one in four (27%) 4-6 year-olds uses a
 computer, and those who do spend an average of just over an hour at the
 keyboard (1:04). More than a third (39%) of 4-6 year-olds use a computer
 several times a week or more; 37% in this age group can turn the computer on
 by themselves, and 40% can load a CD-ROM.
 
     Heavy TV households. Many children are growing up in homes where the TV is
 an ever-present companion:  two-thirds (65%) live in homes where the TV is
 left on at least half the time or more, even if no one is watching, and
 one-third (36%) live in homes where the TV is on "always" or "most of the
 time" (the latter group are considered "heavy" TV households.)
 
     Impact of TV on reading. According to the study, children who have a TV in
 their bedroom or who live in "heavy" TV households spend significantly more
 time watching than other children do, and less time reading or playing
 outside. Those with a TV in their room spend an average of 22 minutes more a
 day watching TV and videos than other children do. Those living in "heavy" TV
 households are more likely to watch every day (77% v. 56%), and to watch for
 longer when they do watch (an average of 34 minutes more a day). They are also
 less likely to read every day (59% v. 68%), and spend less time reading when
 they do read (6 minutes less a day). In fact, they are less likely than other
 children to be able to read at all (34% of children ages 4-6 from "heavy" TV
 households can read, compared to 56% of other children that age).
     "These findings definitely raise a red flag about the impact of TV on
 children's reading," said Vicky Rideout of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
 "Clearly this needs to be a top priority for future research."
 
     Parents' views on educational value of media. Parents of young children
 appear to have a largely positive view about TV and computers. They are
 significantly more likely to say TV "mostly helps" children's learning (43%)
 than "mostly hurts" it (27%); the overwhelming majority (72%) say computers
 "mostly help" children's learning. About half of parents consider educational
 TV shows (58%) and videos (49%) "very important" to children's intellectual
 development. They are also far more likely to say they have seen their
 children imitate positive behaviors from TV like sharing or helping (78%) than
 negative ones like hitting or kicking (36%). However, a majority of parents
 (59%) say their 4-6 year-old boys imitate aggressive behavior from TV (v. 35%
 for girls the same age).
 
     Media rules. The vast majority of parents say they have rules about TV,
 including 90% with rules about what their kids watch and 69% with rules about
 how much they can watch. The study indicates the rules may have an effect:
 children with time-related rules spend an average of almost a half-hour less
 per day watching TV than other children do (1:00 vs. 1:29).
     "When it comes to the impact of media on children, quality is as important
 as quantity," said study co-author Elizabeth Vandewater. "It looks like
 parents are getting the message that content matters," she added. "Parents
 should take heart, because this study shows that sticking to your guns
 regarding your children's media use does indeed make a difference."
 
     Video games. Half (50%) of all 4-6 year-olds have played video games, and
 one in four (25%) play several times a week or more. Differences between boys
 and girls have already begun to emerge at this young age:  56% of boys have
 played video games, compared to 36% of girls; and in a typical day, 24% of
 boys will play, compared to 8% of girls.
 
     Reading. Despite the plethora of new media, reading continues to be a
 regular part of young children's lives. In any given day, nearly eight in ten
 (79%) children six and under will read or be read to, and those who do spend
 an average of 49 minutes reading (83% will use screen media, for an average of
 2 hours 22 minutes).
     The results of the study are being presented during a panel discussion at
 the Barbara Jordan Conference Center, Kaiser Family Foundation building, from
 9:30 a.m. to noon today (October 28). Participants include pediatricians,
 child development experts, and top executives from Scholastic, Sesame Workshop
 and Nickelodeon.
 
     Methodology. This report is based on the results of a nationally
 representative, random digit dial telephone survey of 1,065 parents of
 children ages six months to six years old, conducted from April 11 to June 9,
 2003. The survey was designed and analyzed by the Kaiser Family Foundation and
 the Children's Digital Media Centers, in consultation with Princeton Survey
 Research Associates (PSRA). The margin of error is +/-3%.
     A live webcast of this event will be provided by kaisernetwork.org, a free
 service of the Kaiser Family Foundation. The webcast, transcript, and related
 resources will be available at
 http://kaisernetwork.org/healthcast/kff/28oct03 .
     Copies of the report (#3378) are available on the Kaiser Family
 Foundation's Web site at www.kff.org.
 
     The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
     The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit, independent
 national health care philanthropy dedicated to providing information and
 analysis on health issues to policymakers, the media and the general public.
 The Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries.
 
     The Children's Digital Media Center
     The Children's Digital Media Center (CDMC) is funded by the National
 Science Foundation to further collaborative research on the impact of digital
 and interactive media on children. The CDMC unites a national community of
 scholars, researchers, educators, policy-makers, and industry professionals in
 a community whose goal is to improve the media environment in which children
 live and learn.
 
 

SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
    WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Even the very youngest children in
 America are growing up immersed in media, spending hours a day watching TV and
 videos, using computers and playing video games, according to a new study
 released today by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Children six and
 under spend an average of two hours a day using screen media (1:58), about the
 same amount of time they spend playing outside (2:01), and well over the
 amount they spend reading or being read to (39 minutes).
     New interactive digital media have become an integral part of children's
 lives. Nearly half (48%) of children six and under have used a computer (31%
 of 0-3 year-olds and 70% of 4-6 year-olds). Just under a third (30%) have
 played video games (14% of 0-3 year-olds and 50% of 4-6 year-olds). Even the
 youngest children -- those under two -- are widely exposed to electronic
 media. Forty-three percent of those under two watch TV every day, and 26% have
 a TV in their bedroom (the American Academy of Pediatrics "urges parents to
 avoid television for children under 2 years old"). In any given day,
 two-thirds (68%) of children under two will use a screen media, for an average
 of just over two hours (2:05).
     "It's not just teenagers who are wired up and tuned in, it's babies in
 diapers as well," said Vicky Rideout, Vice President and Director of the
 Kaiser Family Foundation's Program for the Study of Entertainment Media and
 Health, the lead author of the study. "So much new media is being targeted at
 infants and toddlers, it's critical that we learn more about the impact it's
 having on child development."
     The study, Zero to Six:  Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants,
 Toddlers and Preschoolers, was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and
 the Children's Digital Media Centers. It is the first publicly released
 national study of media use among the very youngest children, from 6 months to
 six years old.
     "These are astonishing data. Today's preschoolers are starting to use
 media much younger than we thought," said study co-author Ellen Wartella, Dean
 of the College of Communication at the University of Texas. "Where previous
 generations were introduced to media through print, this generation's pathway
 is electronic. This is a trend we must follow."
 
     Bedroom media. A third of all 0-6 year-olds (36%) have a TV in their
 bedroom, more than one in four (27%) have a VCR or DVD, one in ten have a
 video game player, and 7% have a computer. Thirty percent of 0-3 year-olds
 have a TV in their room, and 43% of 4-6 year-olds do.
     "When children have TVs and other media in their bedrooms, it's more
 difficult for parents to monitor what they're doing," noted study co-author
 Elizabeth Vandewater, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at
 Austin. "The growing phenomenon of media in the bedroom and its impact on
 child development is a crucial area of future research."
 
     Computers. In a typical day about one in four (27%) 4-6 year-olds uses a
 computer, and those who do spend an average of just over an hour at the
 keyboard (1:04). More than a third (39%) of 4-6 year-olds use a computer
 several times a week or more; 37% in this age group can turn the computer on
 by themselves, and 40% can load a CD-ROM.
 
     Heavy TV households. Many children are growing up in homes where the TV is
 an ever-present companion:  two-thirds (65%) live in homes where the TV is
 left on at least half the time or more, even if no one is watching, and
 one-third (36%) live in homes where the TV is on "always" or "most of the
 time" (the latter group are considered "heavy" TV households.)
 
     Impact of TV on reading. According to the study, children who have a TV in
 their bedroom or who live in "heavy" TV households spend significantly more
 time watching than other children do, and less time reading or playing
 outside. Those with a TV in their room spend an average of 22 minutes more a
 day watching TV and videos than other children do. Those living in "heavy" TV
 households are more likely to watch every day (77% v. 56%), and to watch for
 longer when they do watch (an average of 34 minutes more a day). They are also
 less likely to read every day (59% v. 68%), and spend less time reading when
 they do read (6 minutes less a day). In fact, they are less likely than other
 children to be able to read at all (34% of children ages 4-6 from "heavy" TV
 households can read, compared to 56% of other children that age).
     "These findings definitely raise a red flag about the impact of TV on
 children's reading," said Vicky Rideout of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
 "Clearly this needs to be a top priority for future research."
 
     Parents' views on educational value of media. Parents of young children
 appear to have a largely positive view about TV and computers. They are
 significantly more likely to say TV "mostly helps" children's learning (43%)
 than "mostly hurts" it (27%); the overwhelming majority (72%) say computers
 "mostly help" children's learning. About half of parents consider educational
 TV shows (58%) and videos (49%) "very important" to children's intellectual
 development. They are also far more likely to say they have seen their
 children imitate positive behaviors from TV like sharing or helping (78%) than
 negative ones like hitting or kicking (36%). However, a majority of parents
 (59%) say their 4-6 year-old boys imitate aggressive behavior from TV (v. 35%
 for girls the same age).
 
     Media rules. The vast majority of parents say they have rules about TV,
 including 90% with rules about what their kids watch and 69% with rules about
 how much they can watch. The study indicates the rules may have an effect:
 children with time-related rules spend an average of almost a half-hour less
 per day watching TV than other children do (1:00 vs. 1:29).
     "When it comes to the impact of media on children, quality is as important
 as quantity," said study co-author Elizabeth Vandewater. "It looks like
 parents are getting the message that content matters," she added. "Parents
 should take heart, because this study shows that sticking to your guns
 regarding your children's media use does indeed make a difference."
 
     Video games. Half (50%) of all 4-6 year-olds have played video games, and
 one in four (25%) play several times a week or more. Differences between boys
 and girls have already begun to emerge at this young age:  56% of boys have
 played video games, compared to 36% of girls; and in a typical day, 24% of
 boys will play, compared to 8% of girls.
 
     Reading. Despite the plethora of new media, reading continues to be a
 regular part of young children's lives. In any given day, nearly eight in ten
 (79%) children six and under will read or be read to, and those who do spend
 an average of 49 minutes reading (83% will use screen media, for an average of
 2 hours 22 minutes).
     The results of the study are being presented during a panel discussion at
 the Barbara Jordan Conference Center, Kaiser Family Foundation building, from
 9:30 a.m. to noon today (October 28). Participants include pediatricians,
 child development experts, and top executives from Scholastic, Sesame Workshop
 and Nickelodeon.
 
     Methodology. This report is based on the results of a nationally
 representative, random digit dial telephone survey of 1,065 parents of
 children ages six months to six years old, conducted from April 11 to June 9,
 2003. The survey was designed and analyzed by the Kaiser Family Foundation and
 the Children's Digital Media Centers, in consultation with Princeton Survey
 Research Associates (PSRA). The margin of error is +/-3%.
     A live webcast of this event will be provided by kaisernetwork.org, a free
 service of the Kaiser Family Foundation. The webcast, transcript, and related
 resources will be available at
 http://kaisernetwork.org/healthcast/kff/28oct03 .
     Copies of the report (#3378) are available on the Kaiser Family
 Foundation's Web site at www.kff.org.
 
     The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
     The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit, independent
 national health care philanthropy dedicated to providing information and
 analysis on health issues to policymakers, the media and the general public.
 The Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries.
 
     The Children's Digital Media Center
     The Children's Digital Media Center (CDMC) is funded by the National
 Science Foundation to further collaborative research on the impact of digital
 and interactive media on children. The CDMC unites a national community of
 scholars, researchers, educators, policy-makers, and industry professionals in
 a community whose goal is to improve the media environment in which children
 live and learn.
 
 SOURCE  Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation