Sur­vey: Num­ber of kids watch­ing on­line videos soars

The Saline Courier - - COMICS - As­so­ci­ated Press

The num­ber of young Amer­i­cans watch­ing on­line videos ev­ery day has more than dou­bled, ac­cord­ing to sur­vey find­ings re­leased Tues­day. They’re glued to them for nearly an hour a day, twice as long as they were four years ago.

And of­ten, the sur­vey found, they’re see­ing the videos on ser­vices such as Youtube that are sup­pos­edly off lim­its to chil­dren younger than age 13.

“It re­ally is the air they breathe,” said Michael Robb, se­nior di­rec­tor of re­search for Com­mon Sense Me­dia , the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that is­sued the re­port. The group tracks young peo­ple’s tech habits and of­fers guid­ance for par­ents.

The sur­vey of Amer­i­can youth in­cluded the re­sponses of 1,677 young peo­ple, ages 8 to 18. Among other things, it found that 56% of 8- to 12-yearolds and 69% of 13- to 18-yearolds watch on­line videos ev­ery day. In 2015, the last time the sur­vey was con­ducted, those fig­ures were 24% and 34%, re­spec­tively. The mar­gin of er­ror was plus or mi­nus 2.8 per­cent­age points.

Over­all screen time hasn’t changed much in those four years, the sur­vey found. The av­er­age tween, ages 8 to 12 for the pur­poses of this sur­vey, spent four hours and 44 min­utes with en­ter­tain­ment me­dia on dig­i­tal de­vices each day.

For teens, it was seven hours and 22 min­utes. That did not in­clude the time us­ing de­vices for home­work, read­ing books or lis­ten­ing to mu­sic.

But the find­ings on vide­owatch­ing in­di­cate just how quickly this gen­er­a­tion is shift­ing from tra­di­tional tele­vi­sion to stream­ing ser­vices, of­ten viewed on smart­phones, tablets and lap­tops. Among the teens sur­veyed, only a third said they en­joyed watch­ing tra­di­tional tele­vi­sion pro­gram­ming “a lot,” com­pared with 45% four years ago. Half of tweens said the same, com­pared with 61% in the last sur­vey.

Youtube was their over­whelm­ing first choice for on­line videos, even among the tweens who were sur­veyed — three­quar­ters of whom say they use the site de­spite age re­stric­tions. Only 23% in that age group said they watch Youtube

Kids, a sep­a­rate ser­vice aimed at them and even younger chil­dren. And of those, most still said they pre­ferred reg­u­lar


“It puts a lot of pres­sure on a par­ent to fig­ure out what they can rea­son­ably fil­ter,” Robb said.

When pre­sented with the find­ings, Youtube said that, in the com­ing months, it will share de­tails on ways the com­pany is re­think­ing its ap­proach to kids and fam­i­lies.

For now, Far­shad Shad­loo, a spokesper­son for Youtube, a sub­sidiary of Google, re­it­er­ated the com­pany’s terms of use on age: “Youtube is not a site for peo­ple un­der 13.” Among other things, the com­pany also cited its re­stric­tion fil­ters and Youtube Kids.

Even so, many chil­dren with on­line ac­cess are adept at get­ting ac­cess to reg­u­lar Youtube or other stream­ing con­tent — partly be­cause their par­ents are over­whelmed, said Sarah Do­moff, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy at Cen­tral Michi­gan Univer­sity who stud­ies tech’s im­pact on youth and fam­i­lies.

Those par­ents could cer­tainly be do­ing more to track screen time, she said. But, as she sees it, fil­ters on ser­vices such as Youtube also aren’t ad­e­quate.

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