Cover of the report, featuring the report title and teen boy wearing glasses using a smartphone.

The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, 2021

March 2022 marks two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we're starting to see a fuller picture of how the last two years have affected everything from the economy and health care to education and mental health. For parents, caregivers, educators, and even policymakers across the country, kids' media use has been a central issue in this conversation. 

Our new report, The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, 2021, is our first opportunity to see kids' media use during the pandemic and compare the numbers to previous years. And we learned that media use has grown faster since the start of the pandemic -- over a two-year period -- than it has over the four years prior to the pandemic. But this report goes a few steps further by exploring the content behind those numbers: how kids are spending that time, and which media activities they enjoy most. 

The results present an opportunity for parents and caregivers to think differently about how they establish healthy boundaries in a world where media use is higher than ever -- and with no sign of the trend changing. But this data is also a call for policymakers to take action on legislation that will make media use safe, healthy, and engaging for kids everywhere.