Technology Impact On Children

According to a new survey by ReportLinker, today’s children are surrounded by screens. The average household has 7.3, and although the most popular is a TV, with 93% of mentions, our homes also include an astonishing array of digital devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Not everyone, however, agrees on the kind of impact it has on our children.


Number of Screens At Home


In % of Homes









   Tablet for children ≤10


Desktop computer


Video game console




Source: ReportLinker/Insight, May 2017

The more technology a family owns, the more likely it is to end up in the children’s bedrooms, says the report. 56% of all respondents say some devices are available in the bedroom, according to the report, but among those who own five or more devices, two-thirds say they allow their children to keep some technology in their bedrooms. By comparison, however, just 25% of those with one or two devices say they allow technology in their children’s bedrooms.

Children, though, are still mostly drawn to television, and the TV remains the most popular device used by them at home, with 62% of mentions. But other devices are gaining in popularity, including:

  • Tablets (47% of mentions)
  • Smartphones (39% of mentions)
  • Video game consoles (38% of mentions)

Among children 10 years old and younger, however, tablets are the favorite. With more than half of children aged 5 or younger using tablets at home, this device has the potential to unseat TV as the favorite of future generations, says the report.

Although half of all parents say they limit device use to two hours a day, in households where devices are available in bedrooms, children tend to spend more time with them. 45% of those who allow devices in the bedrooms say their children use them from three to five hours per day, and 15% say they permit more than five hours of daily use, says the report. By contrast, two-thirds of children whose parents who don’t allow devices in the bedrooms will spend less than two hours a day using them.

Children are likely to spend more time using smartphones and video game consoles than other devices, according to the report. 62% of parents say their kids spend three or more hours using a smartphone, compared to 57% who say their children spend more than three hours a day playing video games.

This activity mostly occurs during a child’s spare time, parents say, as well as before bedtime, and before or after meals. Children who have devices in their bedroom are also more likely to use them before falling asleep, before going to bed, or in their spare time says the report.

When Children Use Devices

When Used

% Using

% Permitted In Bedroom

Spare time



Before going to bed



Before of after meals



Before falling asleep



When awakening



During meals



Source: ReportLinker/Insight, May 2017

As children spend more time with devices, child development and education experts disagree about the devices’ potential benefits or harm. Some believe children gain research and technology skills. Others believe children who spend too much time staring at screens lose the ability to empathize and read social cues. Other experts warn that being tethered to a device can lead to physical and psychological problems, including obesity and diabetes. Meanwhile, psychologists suggest such frequent exposure is re-wiring the developing brain in very different ways than in previous generations, notes the report.

Despite the diverging opinions of the experts, three-quarters of parents are relatively positive about the impact technology has on their children. Four out of 10 parents believe technology promotes school readiness and cognitive development, and as a result, they view electronics more positively. Another main advantage mentioned by a quarter of parents is that they believe their children should be tech-savvy, especially true for a third of parents whose youngest child is between 11 and 15 years-old, says the report.

Despite such favorable opinions of technology, parents seem to have a nagging worry that it’s not all good. Although one-fifth of US parents say they don’t believe there are disadvantages to their children’s use of technology, a third view some serious consequences, and 51% of parents who say they believe technology is ruining the essence of childhood are more likely to say their children spend less time playing, going outside and reading. In addition, almost a third of all parents believe their children are more isolated because they have fewer social interactions.

Although every household takes a different approach to managing children’s access and time spent on devices, concludes the report, 83% of parents recognize the importance of keeping an eye on the content their children are watching. In the US, seven out of 10 parents say they’ve activated parental supervision software on their devices, especially those who limit their child’s access to no more than two hours a day (79%), says the report.

This survey conducted by ReportLinker reached 670 online respondents representative of the US population, still having children under 15 and having at least one device at home. Interviews were conducted between April, 14th and April, 17th 2017.

For additional information and charts from the complete report, please visit here.




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