Research & Discovery

First memories of children using digital devices

97% of parents share a similar recollection regarding this. The story goes that when they’re around their newborn or toddler they’re often on their phone. Due to the nature of attention being focused on a device, the child is naturally curious and reaches out for it often. Just over half of parents eventually hand their phone to the child under the age of two at home. 76% of parents with children two or younger hand their phone to their child when “in a pinch” such as while at a restaurant or doctor’s office. This almost universally was not something parents planned with foresight or discussed in advance. In essence, the parent’s phone becomes a toy. Also, 90% will allow their kids at age two and under to play with their phone or a tablet on long car trips or a plane ride only. 9% do not allow their toddler at age two and under to touch or play with digital devices at all under any circumstances.

The vast majority of parents who allow their children to play with digital devices have not purchased specific learning apps. Most of the time parents allow their children to simply play with existing apps on the adult phone as well as the camera or video functions. Often a common activity is to take pictures and video of the child and then allow them to watch or see those of themselves.

If there is conscious decision making around entertainment of some type, it is most commonly YouTube Kids. But 97% of parents claimed that they felt uncomfortable with the content and had to monitor it constantly. An all-time favorite video type on YouTube Kids is videos of other kids playing with toys or unboxing things. Most parents find this content odd and feel uncomfortable for their children to watch it.

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