About 50% of U.S. Children Ages 6-9 Are Online Daily

A report released Monday by educational non-profits Sesame Workshop and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center revealed statistics on media use for American children, including internet, videogame and television use, as well as online video consumption, as reported by Mashable. While television still easily leads the pack, accounting for a “whopping” 47% of the time that children spend on all types of media, other forms of media are rapidly on the rise for those ages 10 and under.

Here are the statistics for general internet use among children in the U.S.:

  • 23% of parents of children between ages 0 and 5 in the U.S. say their children use the Internet
  • 82% of those children use it on at least a weekly basis
  • At age 3, about one-quarter of children go online daily
  • By age 5, about half of children go online daily
  • By age 8, more than two-thirds use the Internet on any given weekday
  • In a typical day, about 30% of 3-to-5-year-old children use the Internet, compared with about 50% of 6-to-9-year- olds
  • Children ages 5 to 9 average about 28 minutes online daily
  • In 2009, children ages 8 to 10 spent about 46 minutes on a computer every day (more than double the 19 minutes this group spent online daily in 2006)
  • Children are using multiple forms of media at once – a 2010 Nielsen study suggests that 36% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 use television and the internet simultaneously

Videogame use among American children is also on the rise:

  • About 20% of 4- and 5-year-olds use handheld videogames
  • By age 7, usage climbs to 46% (more than double)
  • Well over half of all children age 9 are using videogames

The study also notes that  videogame use illustrates a shift that happens between ages 7-9; at that age, children begin to “extend their media habits deeper into the digital realm.”  Just under half of all 6-year-olds play videogames on an average day. By age 8, more than 70% do.  This shift is also supported by internet use statistics: fewer than half of 6-year-olds (47%) use the Internet on a typical day, compared with more than two-thirds (67%) of 8-year-olds.

Online video is another significant area of youth media consumption:

  • Parents in one study indicated that more than 60% of children under age 3 watch video online
  • 8- to 18-year-old children consume approximately 20% of their video content online, on cellphones, or other portable devices

Youth marketers take note:  the study finds that “Mobile media appears to be the next “it” technology, from handheld video games to portable music players to cell phones. Kids like to use their media on the go.”

See the full Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop report here: Always Connected: The new digital media habits of young children.