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.Among the myriad accessible social networking sites, Facebook remains the most popular, with 71% of 13- to 17-year-olds surveyed by the Pew Research Center in 20 reporting using this site/app.However, adolescents today do not typically dedicate themselves to just 1 site; most teenagers maintain a “social media portfolio” of several selected sites including, as indicated by rates of use in the Pew survey, Instagram (52%), Snapchat (41%), Twitter (33%), Google (33%), Vine (24%), Tumblr (14%), and other social media (11%).Today’s children and adolescents are immersed in both traditional and new forms of digital media.Research on traditional media, such as television, has identified health concerns and negative outcomes that correlate with the duration and content of viewing.
Thus, digital media can provide an engaging experience in which the media experiences of children and teenagers become highly personalized.
To promote health and wellness in children and adolescents, it is important to maintain adequate physical activity, healthy nutrition, good sleep hygiene, and a nurturing social environment.
A healthy Family Media Use Plan ( Use Plan) that is individualized for a specific child, teenager, or family can identify an appropriate balance between screen time/online time and other activities, set boundaries for accessing content, guide displays of personal information, encourage age-appropriate critical thinking and digital literacy, and support open family communication and implementation of consistent rules about media use.
As communication moves from face-to-face and voice-only phone conversations to more screen-to-screen interactions via apps, such as Face Time or Skype, daily communication is becoming intertwined with screen time.
Texting, using a smartphone keyboard to send a written message or a visual symbol (emoji) to another smartphone, also has become a prominent means of communication for teenagers.