Based on the data from the period December 2019 – April 2020 and March 2019, we examined how the activity of children and young people on mobile devices has changed. “Children and adolescents” is a behavioral profile in the Selectivv database determined on the basis of using specific applications or application groups. The analyzed sample amounted to 1 915 596 users (mobile devices) and 14 693 020 applications launches from selected categories.
Over ⅕ of mobile users are children and young people
It turns out that applications from selected categories, in the period of December 2019 – April 2020, accounted for 19.94% of all applications in this period. The highest share, 26.20%, was observed in III 2020, then in IV 2020 (21.26%), and the lowest in December 2019 and January 2020 (16.92% and 17.81%, respectively).
In III 2020 there was a large increase in the use of selected applications by 5.58 percentage points compared to II 2020. The observation showed that when comparing year to year (March 2019 vs. March 2020) there is also an increase in the use of selected applications (from 18.64 % to 26.20%). The situation associated with the COVID-19 epidemic had a major impact on this change.
The pandemic, of course, caused an increase in the use of applications by children and adolescents, but the Selectivv research shows overall limited growth, which is enjoyable – comments the results of the study Maria Deskur, President of the Board of the Universal Reading Foundation – Increased use of the smartphone is not healthy for children. Although the number of application launches increased significantly, almost twice, between February and March, the time spent on using them increased by only 25% at that time and was still lower than in January, before the pandemic. It turns out that the children did not start avalanche use of the application, which could be feared – given the three-digit increase in social media usability shown by Selectivv during a pandemic.
How long with the smartphone?
The average number of days of using the analyzed applications in a month in the period from December 2019 to April 2020 was 2.92 – the highest in April 2020 (3.34) and the lowest in February 2020 (2.34). In March 2020, the average number of active days was 3.26 (an increase of 39.32% compared to February 2020 and by 18.35% compared to December 2019).
In turn, the average time of using the analyzed applications during the day, from December 2019 to April 2020, was 19.71 minutes. The highest in April 2020 (22.27 minutes) and the lowest in December 2019 (16.05 minutes). In March 2020, the average time of using the application was 20.04 minutes (increase by 22.44% compared to February 2020) and in April 22.27 minutes (increase by 11.13% compared to March 2020).
How many times were the analyzed applications launched during the day? The average number of launches per user, from December 2019 to April 2020, was 4.10, reaching the highest value in March 2020 (5.16) and the lowest in February 2020 (2.81).
Activity on mobile devices
In March, in the initial period of introducing restrictions in Poland, we conducted a research on how the activity of all mobile users changes. We took into account instant messaging (facebook messenger, whatsapp, viber, skype), social media (facebook, twitter), VOD (netflix), entertainment (youtube), communication (uber) and remote cooperation (microsoft teams). In the case of messengers, we are talking about four (Skype), five (Viber), and even eight (WhatsApp) and nine (Facebook messenger) increases in the number of launches. Youtube started almost six times more often, and Netflix almost seven. What were the children and young people doing at the time? Selectivv research showing the increase in popularity of social media and video services published after the first weeks of the pandemic show significantly greater increases in netflix or youtube viewership, which increased then by over 500%. It can be suspected that children participated in this watching. From a child’s development point of view, talking to the parent and reading books would be more valuable than the time spent in front of the television screen or smartphone. Research shows that our brains develop best when interacting with another person based on written text whose reading enriches the vocabulary more broadly than just talking without reading. The limited increases in the use of applications by children are therefore optimistic – they seem to show that parents did not allow children to sit all day with a smartphone in their hands. It’s a healthy reflex. – says Maria Deskur, President of the Board of the Universal Reading Foundation.
About Fundacja Powszechnego Czytania:
Fundacja Powszechnego Czytania (The Universal Reading Foundation) was established in 2018 as a result of a shared vision of over 20 entities and people from the publishing industry. The FPC aims to raise awareness in Poland of the key role of reading for comprehensive human development and take action to promote reading in Polish families. The first FPC program is the action ‘Prescription Book. A recipe for success, in which the Foundation encourages doctors, nurses and midwives to systematically recommend to young parents to read regularly with their children.