A new study finds that most American kids are media users by their first birthday; by age six, they are going online without supervision; by age 11, half have their own cell phones.
For its 2011 LMX Family study, Ipsos OTX MediaCT surveyed 2,080 American parents and their kids aged six to 12, as well as 715 parents of preschoolers aged 0 to five about the children's attitudes to media and their usage.
More than half of the parents of preschoolers said their kids would be allowed to play games on mobile phones or consoles, watch online video and listen to music on multiple devices when they were five years old. By age six, they'll be allowed to go online on their own.
For six- to 12-year-olds, more than one quarter of the time they were awake was screen time. Moreover, their media time rose substantially in the past year, from 4.9 hours to 5.3 hours each day, thanks mostly to video games.
By age 11, more than half of kids have their own mobile phones; parents like feeling they can always get in touch with their children. They're not above reading the kids' text messages, either. In fact, 81 percent of girls and 72 percent of boys have their texts snooped by Mom or Dad.
When it comes to consuming media as a family, watching TV is still the prime activity. Maybe that's why 70 percent of parents will let their six- to twelve-year-olds watch a PG-13 movie with them, although 26 percent let Junior watch them on his own.
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About Jim Liebelt
Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
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