Introducing Toddler 2.0.
Young children are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, a new study finds. Recent research shows 23 percent of parents with children under five say that their children use the Internet. Of those plugged-in toddlers, 82 percent reportedly go online once a week.*
These surprising figures come from a report by the Sesame Workshop's Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of children's literacy through new technologies. The Cooney Center pulled their data from seven studies that examined the media habits of children.
So what are these tech-savvy tikes doing online? According to the Cooney Center's report, 60 percent of children younger than three are watching videos, and 30 percent are using video chat.
"Knowing that a child uses the Internet mostly to Skype with a relative in another state versus using the Web to engage in solitary game play, gives us a much better sense of what a child is doing and may be getting from the experience than just knowing that he or she is using the Internet," researcher Jennifer Kotler wrote in a post on the Cooney Center Blog.
Television is still the leading form of media consumed by kids. According to the report, most children watch three hours of TV on weekdays and 4 hours on the weekend. Some of these TV-watchers are also multitasking. Data from a 2010 Nielsen study, included in the Cooney report, show that 36 percent of children aged two to 11 years old watch TV and use the Internet simultaneously.
Although young children are consuming more media than ever before, they are spending roughly the same amount of time reading traditional books. Ninety percent of children between the ages of five and nine engage with printed materials every day, the Cooney Center reports.
The Center concludes that cellphones, video games, portable music players, television and computers are important developmental tools for children, especially when a balance is struck between entertainment, education and physical activity.
*These data did not appear in the original study and were released by the Sesame Workshop as a clarification.