The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight, 2020
For the first time, young kids spend more time watching online videos than doing any other activity on screens. But the content they're seeing on sites like YouTube and TikTok lacks educational value and, in many cases, exposes young children to advertising, violence, and other content that's inappropriate for their ages.
Our fourth iteration of the Common Sense Census: Zero to Eight (ISSN: 2694-4499) is paired with a sister report, YouTube and Kids: How Ads, Toys, and Games Dominate Viewing, to better understand just how the media landscape can be improved for our youngest children. The explosion of online video viewing matters when we consider YouTube's role as the largest free platform for online video in the world. But we also learned that the gap in screen time continues to widen across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines, and progress on closing the digital divide has stalled.
This pre-pandemic snapshot of young kids' media use presents a unique opportunity to understand the impact of the pandemic when combined with future research. But the results of this report are vitally important to finding solutions that provide all children with access to media that supports learning, health, and opportunity.
For advocates, reporters, and researchers:
At-a-glance data from Zero to Eight, 2020 around key demographics and issues:
- Exploring the digital divide (en español)
- Hispanic/Latinx children's media use (en español)
- Black children’s media use (en español)
- Media use of children from lower-income backgrounds (en español)
- Read our recommendations for how YouTube can better protect kids.
- Sign up for Tech Balance to receive free tips on healthy media habits for families with kids ages 0-8.
- See our picks for the best YouTube channels for kids.
This report is part of a series of probability-based surveys documenting media-use patterns among children from birth to age 8 in the U.S. The 2020 survey includes a nationally representative sample of more than 1,440 parents from all regions of the country, from lower- and higher-income families, with over-sampling of Black and Hispanic/Latinx parents to enable analysis by demographic factors within racial and ethnic groups.