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80% 0-5 year olds use Internet at least once a week
The media habits of children have changed over the years as new technologies embed themselves into their everyday lives. A new report from education non-profit organizations Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Sesame Workshop has found that young children in particular are increasingly consuming digital media, often more than one type at once.
Today's young children have access to a plethora of digital media and their exposure to it is far more today than it was a couple of decades ago. A whopping 80% of children age 5 and under use the Internet at least once a week, found the joint study from Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Sesame Workshop.
Whereas children in the 1960s were engaged by popular media formats such as television, print, movies and radio, a child in the 21st century also enjoys the Internet, DVDs, game consoles, interactive toys and so much more.
To this end, the overall media exposure for a child age 8 - 18 today is 10 hours and 45 minutes per day compared to just 6 hours a day in the 1960s.
However, despite the multitude of digital offerings, television continues to exert the greatest hold over young children, who spend more time with it than any other medium, found the study. Furthermore,it wasn't until around the age of 8 that they opened their eyes to other forms of digital media.
Kids like their digital fixes on the go, too, and it appears it will be the next "must have" for that generation. Incredibly, 5% of 5 year olds use a mobile phone on a typical weekday, rising to 15% by the age of 7.
The report isn't designed to answer the question of how much digital media consumption is too much where children are concerned. However Dr Lewis Bernstein, executive VP, Education, Research and Outreach at Sesame Workshop, concludes moderation is the key.
"My mother used to say that too much of anything isn't good for you, whether it be eating only protein, shooting hoops all day or "always being connected" to the digital world. There is no escaping the fact that parents need to moderate children's media use and the content they choose," said Dr. Bernstein.
"Producers need to exercise judgment and taste and the educational establishment needs to recognize the potential for life-long learning that media represents and begin to harness it."
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