Most Parents Loosen Rules for Children’s Media Consumption During the Summer

    New York, N.Y. – August 24, 2011 – Ah, summer; a time when kids spend their days playing sports and games outside and visiting local pools and beaches. But, with all the various forms of media now available, are these quintessential summer images still accurate? Many parents of those 17 or younger and living at home say their children consume various types of media more, including watching television and playing video games, during the summer months.

    In fact, almost half of parents say their children consume more television (49%) and video games (46%) in the summer, with a quarter saying their children consume much more of these types of media and entertainment during the summer (23% and 24%). One in six or less say their children consume less of these types of media in the summer (16% and 13%) while three in ten say the amount consumed is neither more nor less in the summer than at other times of the year (29% and 27%). This same trend holds for Internet use and watching movies – 44%-45% of parents say that their children do more of these activities in the summer, compared to 13% and 14% who say they do less.

    These are some of the findings of a recent Adweek/Harris Poll survey of 2,950 U.S. adults surveyed online between August 5 and 9, 2011.

    In addition to school being out, does anything else affect a child’s media consumption in the summer? Almost six in ten parents say they loosen the rules during the summer, allowing their kids more freedom (57%) to consume various types of media. One quarter of parents say they do not loosen media consumption rules in the summer (26%) and fewer say that they do not have any rules for their children’s media consumption at all (17%). While dads and moms are equally likely to loosen (56% vs. 57%) or not loosen (27% vs. 25%) the rules for their children’s media consumption in the summer, there are noticeable differences by region:

    • Six in ten parents in the Midwest, South and West (58%-59%) say they loosen the rules for their child’s media consumption in summer, compared to just 40% of parents in the Northeast who say the same; and
    • Parents in the Midwest and South are most likely to say that they do not have any rules for their children’s media consumption (21% and 20%) compared to fewer parents in the West (14%) and Northeast (11%).

    So What?

    Summer is traditionally seen as a time to unwind, increase recreational activities and possibly get outdoors. But for many youths it seems that this recreational time may include many indoor activities, centered on media and technology. And, according to the survey, very large numbers of youth have the necessary personal technology devices to facilitate these activities-70% of parents of children 17 or younger living at home say their child has a handheld gaming device, 59% say their child has a television in their bedroom and 52% say their child has their own personal computer.

     

    TABLE 1A

    CHILDREN CONSUME MORE OR LESS MEDIA DURING THE SUMMER

    Do your children consume more or less of each of the following types of media during the summer than during other times of the year? By summer, we mean the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

    Base: All U.S. adults who have a child aged 17 or younger at home

    More (NET)

    Much more

    Somewhat more

    Neither more nor less

    Less (NET)

    Somewhat less

    Much less

    Not applicable

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Television

    49

    23

    26

    29

    16

    8

    8

    6

    Video games

    46

    24

    22

    27

    13

    7

    5

    14

    Internet

    45

    22

    22

    29

    13

    8

    6

    13

    Movies

    44

    16

    29

    34

    14

    8

    6

    8

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 1B

    CHILDREN CONSUME MORE OR LESS MEDIA DURING THE SUMMER

    Do your children consume more or less of each of the following types of media during the summer than during other times of the year? By summer, we mean the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

    Summary of those saying much more or somewhat more

    Base: All U.S. adults who have a child aged 17 or younger at home

    Total

    Region

    Northeast

    Midwest

    South

    West

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Television

    49

    42

    37

    58

    52

    Video games

    46

    29

    40

    55

    53

    Internet

    45

    36

    37

    53

    46

    Movies

    44

    33

    35

    52

    52

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 2

    LOOSEN THE MEDIA RULES IN THE SUMMER

    Do you loosen the rules for your children’s media consumption (i.e. allow them more freedom) during the summer?

    Base: All U.S. adults who have a child aged 17 or younger at home

    Total

    Gender

    Region

    Male

    Female

    Northeast

    Midwest

    South

    West

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Yes

    57

    56

    57

    49

    58

    59

    59

    No

    26

    27

    25

    40

    21

    20

    27

    NA – I don’t have rules for my children’s media consumption

    17

    17

    18

    11

    21

    20

    14

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 3

    CHILDREN GETTING FIRST TECH DEVICES

    At which age, if any, did your child first get each of the following devices? If you cannot remember exactly, please use your best estimate. If you have more than one child, please answer thinking only of your oldest child aged 17 or younger and living at home.

    Base: All U.S. adults who have a child aged 17 or younger at home

    Child has device (NET)

    0-3 years

    4-7 years

    8-11 years

    12-14 years

    15-17 years

    My child does not have this

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Handheld gaming device (e.g. PSP, Nintendo DS)

    70

    4

    34

    25

    4

    3

    30

    MP3 Player (e.g. iPod)

    60

    2

    12

    29

    12

    4

    40

    Television in their bedroom

    59

    11

    22

    12

    9

    4

    41

    Personal computer (desktop or laptop)

    52

    4

    12

    18

    12

    7

    48

    Mobile phone or smartphone

    51

    2

    3

    17

    21

    8

    49

    Tablet computer (e.g. iPad, Xoom)

    17

    2

    2

    5

    4

    3

    83

    eReader device (e.g. Kindle, Nook)

    14

    1

    4

    5

    2

    2

    86

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    Methodology

    This Adweek/Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 5 and 9, 2011 among 2,950 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Where appropriate, this data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    The Harris Poll® #93, August 24, 2011

    By Samantha Braverman, Sr. Project Researcher, Harris Interactive

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