The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, 2019

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This large-scale study explores how kids age 8 to 18 in the US use media across an array of activities and devices—including short-form, mobile-friendly platforms like YouTube—to see where they spend their time and what they enjoy most. Combined with the data from the 2015 report, the 2019 census gives us a clearer view of how young people's media use has evolved over time. The results speak to the individualized uses of media and the increase in time spent with personalized content on social media and in online videos—and the way shared family viewing and other formative media experiences are changing as a result. Some findings:

  • Tweens and teens from families that make less than $35,000 per year spent nearly two hours more with screen media each day than their peers with incomes over $100,000.
  • Lower-income teens (13- to 18-year-olds) spent more than 8.5 hours each day on smartphones, tablets, video games, and other screen media, compared with six hours and 49 minutes for their higher-income peers. Lower-income tweens (8- to 12-year-olds) used screen media for nearly six hours a day, compared with four hours for higher-income tweens.
  • This data reflects a number of socio-economic differences, including access to child care and extracurricular activities as well as how technology is perceived. It also marks a reversal in how we understand the so-called digital divide: it’s no longer just access to technology but also the ability to restrain that access.

The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, 2019 Infographic (Common Sense) Poor kids spend nearly 2 hours more on screens each day than rich kids (Vox) Survey: The average time young people spend watching videos — mostly on YouTube — has doubled since 2015 (Washington Post)