For children, playing with Tickle Me Elmo is so passé. Toddlers today seem to be spending more time playing with Elmo on a touchscreen.
Thirty-eight percent of children under the age of 2 have used mobile devices, including iPhones, tablets and Kindles, up from 10 percent in 2011, according to a survey by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on advocating on behalf of children.
This trend encompasses a larger subset – kids in general are turning to mobile. Seventy-two percent of children under 8 have used a mobile device for playing games, watching videos or using apps, up from 38 percent in 2011. And kids are spending considerably more time on their mobile devices. For children who use mobile every day, they are spending on average one hour and seven minutes, an increase from 2011's findings of 43 minutes.
As mobile devices become a staple in U.S. homes -- 3 in 4 households own one up from about half in 2011 , it seems inevitable the amount of time kids spend on mobile devices will continue to increase.
Yet, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has advised parents to fight this trend by limiting screen time. In fact, for children under two, the AAP recommends no screen time at all. But most parents are not heeding the AAP's advice, with children under two spending an hour a day in front of screens, according to the survey
Companies are looking to take advantage of this growing demographic. From education tools to games to short movies, the baby and children app space is buzzing with activity. Their marketing push seems to be working. Most kids are native technology users by the time they enter elementary school, with 8 out of 10 5-to-8-year-olds using mobile devices, compared with only half of all children just two years ago.
The study is based on a nationally representative internet survey of 1,463 parents with children under 8.