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Common Sense Media’s Zero to Eight survey has found disparities in the use of educational media on mobile devices, with 54% of children from higher-income families often or sometimes using educational content on mobile devices but only 28% of children from lower-income families doing so.Studies show that social media use patterns and rates among older children and adolescents have continued to grow over the past decade, aided in part by the recent rise in mobile phone use among children and teenagers.At present, approximately three-quarters of teenagers own a smartphone, 24% of adolescents describe themselves as “constantly connected” to the Internet Mobile apps provide a breadth of specific functions, such as gaming, photo and video sharing, and global positioning system monitoring.Social media sites and their associated mobile apps provide a platform for users to create an online identity, communicate with others, and build a social network.Digital media allow information sharing across a variety of media formats, including text, photographs, video, and audio.
With the ability to message your opponent while engaging in a remote video game or tweet while watching a TV show, viewers and gamers often link their entertainment to social media.By parent report, most children in the Kabali et al study watched You Tube or Netflix primarily, and smaller proportions watched educational programs and played early-learning apps (eg, alphabet and counting apps).A large minority also played games or watched cartoons.Although these national surveys continued to demonstrate a digital divide on the basis of economic status, with less access to mobile technology and the Internet in lower-income families, a smaller study in 2015 called this disparity into question by showing that almost all (96.6%) 0- to 4-year-olds recruited from a low-income pediatric clinic had used mobile devices, and 75% owned their own device.
This study also showed that most 2-year-olds used mobile devices on a daily basis and that most of the 1-year-olds assessed (92.2%) had already used a mobile device.
It is unclear whether these decreases are in part the result of parents heeding expert recommendations to limit screen time (evidence would suggest not) or whether they represent a displacement of TV viewing by the use of novel platforms.