Technology Adoption / Kids Media Landscape

of three

Technology Adoption

Overall, U.S. consumers in rural markets adopt new technology slower than consumers in urban markets. However, as Pew Research Center noted in a 2019 publication, "rural Americans have made large gains in adopting digital technology over the past decade." One reason contributing to the slower adoption of new technology in rural markets is a lack of infrastructure for quality, fast-speed internet.

internet adoption rates/usage

  • This year (2019), 63% of rural American adults have home broadband internet compared to 75% of urban American adults with the same. In 2016, 63% of rural Americans had home broadband internet compared to 73% of all U.S. adults.
  • In further regard to the adoption rate for home broadband internet, way back in 2001, just 3% of U.S. adults in rural markets had home broadband internet. In contrast, 9% of urban adults in the U.S. did. In 2002, the gap further widened, as 6% of rural adults had home broadband internet compared to the 18% of urban adults who did.
  • In further regard to home broadband internet, in 2003, 9% of rural adults had such while 21% of urban adults did. In 2004, 16% of rural adults had home broadband internet compared to the 29% of urban adults who did. Lastly, in 2005, 24% of rural adults had home broadband internet, while 38% of urban adults did.
  • Internet usage is also less frequent among rural Americans compared to urban/suburban Americans. Among rural Americans, 76% "use the internet on at least a daily basis" while that rate is 83% among urban Americans. Lastly, rural Americans are also more likely to never use the internet, as 15% reported such compared to the 9% of urban Americans who reported the same.

smartphone, tablet, and laptop adoption rates/usage

  • This year (2019), 71% of rural Americans have a smartphone compared to the 83% of urban Americans who have one. In 2016, 67% of rural Americans had a smartphone compared to the 77% of all U.S. adults who did. Back in 2011, 21% of rural adults had a smartphone, while 38% of urban adults did.
  • As of February 2019, 24% of rural Americans have a cellphone that's not a smartphone, compared to 13% of urban Americans with the same. (2)
  • Interestingly, this year (2019), 49% of both rural and urban American adults have a tablet. Despite having the same present adoption rate, such rate has been swifter among urban Americans overall, as 53% of all U.S. adults had a tablet in 2016 compared to the 43% of rural Americans who did.
  • In further regard to the adoption rate for tablets, back in 2011, 4% of urban Americans had a tablet, while just 1% of rural Americans did. Furthermore, the adoption rate between 2011 and 2019 has been slightly faster among urban Americans, though it has generally been close overall through the years.
  • This year (2019), 69% of rural Americans have a laptop, while 73% of urban Americans do. Despite the similarity of those present values, the adoption rate has been faster over the years among urban Americans, as 73% had a laptop back in 2008 compared to 61% of rural Americans. In 2016, 70% of rural Americans had either a laptop or desktop computer, while 78% of all U.S. adults had the same.
  • The new tech adoption rates are also lower for rural Americans with regard to "hav[ing] multiple devices or services that enable them to go online." In support thereof, 31% of rural Americans have all of the following tech: (1) A laptop or desktop, (2) a tablet, (3) in-home broadband connection, and (4) a smartphone. In comparison, that rate among suburban Americans is 43% (percentage for urban Americans category not provided by that source, which is why we included the rate for suburbanites).

Your Research Team Applied the Following Strategy:

We compiled the information presented above by consulting reputable research sources that conducted surveys on new technology adoption rates among rural and urban markets in the U.S. The prominent source that we used was Pew Research Center, as that was the controlling source for much of the statistics available regarding this topic (other sources cited Pew's data, which showed it's a top source). All the research findings we included pertain to U.S. adults because they were the individuals surveyed as part of the research projects discussed in the reports we found. The data we found clearly demonstrates that U.S. consumers in rural markets adopt new technology slower than those in urban markets, which is how we came to that overall conclusion.
of three

Kids Media Landscape: Ages 7-12

A deep search in the public domain shows that information on how the media landscape for kids ages 7-12 has changed over the past year is non-existent and media coverage on the specified topic is scarce. The most relevant media mention is: In 2015, 62% of children ages 8-12 years old watched the TV every day, while 24% watched online videos based on a study conducted by the Common Sense Media. Below are our helpful findings and detailed methodology.



  • According to a CNN report, 62% of the age group known as tweens (children ages 8-12 years old) predominantly watched TV daily as part of their daily activity in 2015.
  • The report from CNN came from the Common Sense Media who conducted a study of media use by tweens in 2015.
  • Based on Common Sense Media study, 62% of children ages 8-12 years old watched the TV every day, while 24% watched online videos.
  • Watching TV by definition in this study refers to shows, movies, streamed, and on-demand contents viewed on the TV set. On the other hand, online videos refer to the TV contents that are downloaded and streamed using other technology devices such as a tablet, smartphone, and computers.
  • Also, the same year, 2015, 71% of children ages 8 to 12 used a TV or TV set to watch their favorite content, while 14% of them watched through other devices.


  • Based on 2015 CSM report, 47% of tweens had a TV set in their bedroom, 53% owned a tablet, 24% had a smartphone, 19% had a laptop computer, and 6% had a desktop computer in their bedroom.
  • On 2016 CSM report, it shows that 43% of tweens had a TV in their bedroom, 58% owned a tablet, 28% owned a smartphone, 14% owned a laptop, and 11% owned a desktop computer.
  • Based on these two reports by CSM (2015 and 2016 report), the TV and laptop ownership decreases in 2016, while the ownership on a tablet, smartphone, and desktop devices slightly increased.


  • A University of Michigan news report stated that the study on viewership and media screen use is common among adolescents, but it is rare to have any tool or measurement specific for children ages 4-11 years old in the United States.
  • This was verified by Parrot Analytics report which reported that measuring viewership among children is a complex task due to privacy law that protects the minors. Minors are technically not allowed to have social media accounts which are the platforms used to conduct surveys and studies on activities.
  • However, Parrot Analytics provides information on the most in-demand contents in the United States for children based on surveys and other online activity from parents or guardians' perspective. This they measure through co-viewership.
  • Based on the study, the top children's title current in demand in the United States is Spongebob Squarepants with 12 demand expression per 100 capita. Followed by Star Wars Rebels with six, and Miraculous: Tales of Lady Bug and Cat Noir with four.
  • Also, included are Gravity Falls, Pokemon, The Amazing World of Gumball, and Paw Patrol.
  • For children's franchises, topped the list is the Star Wars with 2.8 demand expression per 100 capita. Followed by Thomas and Friends and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with 2 and 1.5 demand expression, respectively.


We started our research by looking at industry reports and statistical reports from the relevant media sources. Here, we tried to find information on the media screen or viewership habits and preference of children specifically for ages 7-12 for at least two different fiscal years to determine how the media landscape has changed for these age group in the United States. We checked the third party intelligence and analytics sources such as Kantar Media, Pew Research Center, Nielsen, Parrot Analytics, and Statista because these sites commonly provide an annual or periodic reporting. However, we could find limited information on Statista and Pew Research where most of their quantitative reporting for media and screen viewership is commonly for adults ages 18 years and above, while some refer to teens. On Parrot Analytics, we could find the top programs in the US for children based on their surveys and algorithm, but this was not specific for 7-12 years old, but children in general, hence, this did not directly answer the research question.
Next, we looked for sources/bodies/organizations which study the kids and their media/technology habits, we checked sources like Common Sense Media (CSM), American Academy of Pediatrics, and Healthy Children. These sources are specific for the concern of children and they provide recommendations on the healthy media viewership for them (children). On a CNN report, we could find a study conducted by one of the above organization (Common Sense Media (CSM)) pertaining to this request. The original study was conducted in 2015, but we included it because it was cited from an article that is within the 24-month period. In fact, numerous recent articles found related to media habits of “children” cited these organizations and their research studies, especially by Common Sense Media (CSM) and the American Academy of Pediatrics. CSM report is on point as it tackles children and media habits for ages 8-12 years old, while the request states 7-12 ages, it can be assumed that since only one age group was missing (7-year-old group), there is no large impact on the data variances. Thus, we used this information, however, no follow up study found on this report to be used as comparable data. We exhaustively searched and scoured the list of studies made by CMS but we could not find any follow-up studies for these age group, they mentioned that they intend to do a periodic reporting, but currently, the above-mentioned report is the latest. Other related reports by CMS are for 0-8 years old and another is about the concern of tween and teen parents on their children's media habit where the only related information is on media technology ownership of tweens. While this info was not requested, we used in our findings as we deemed it related and will provide insight on how children (ages 8-12) access media. On the side note, the report mentioned Kaiser Family Foundation which has the same report on request topic, however, the latest information published by KFF was on 2010, which is too old to be used.
Lastly, we changed our tactics and searched from a marketing perspective by looking at reports from various media players such as from subscription video on demand players (i.e. Netflix, Hulu), TV and cable networks (i.e. HBO, Comcast), and free video online streaming (i.e. YouTube, TikTok). We were hoping to find any annual reporting finding if children ages 7-12 years old access these companies, and which type of content they watch or download the most, and if there were any changes between different year period. We checked each company's websites, annual reports, and other publications or press releases. Companies such as Netflix, YouTube, Comcast, and others, have the information on their users' demographics, however, we could find that demographics on subscribers and users only show people with ages 18 years old and above. This may be due to minors not being able to pay for their own subscription. Also, they are not allowed to own/open social media accounts because of age.

NOTE: We could provide information for a single year period, however, we could not find comparable information from the different year that would be relevant in determining the changes of the media landscape for kids ages 7-12 over the past year. The unavailability of the information is due to the specificity of age groups required for this request, but most of the information only refers to children without specific age. Also, media viewership and usage of children, especially for ages 12 and below is very complex and difficult to track because of them being minors.
of three

Kids Media Landscape: Ages 13-18

Teens increasingly access media through online platforms like Instagram and Netflix and have shifted in nuanced ways in the types of content they consume.


  • Within the past year:
    • Between spring of 2018 and 2019, teen use of Instagram increased by 9%, Snapchat fell by 4%, Twitter fell by 3%, and Facebook fell by 2%.
    • From the beginning to the end of 2018, Netflix remained the most popular video streaming service, while YouTube increased slightly in popularity but remained in second place.
    • In the past year, several magazines with a teen audience have decided to phase out their print products in favor of totally digital publications.
  • Within the past five years:
    • Between a 2015 Pew Research study and a 2018 Pew Research study, there was a 20% decline in teenagers' use of Facebook. This not only indicates Facebook's decline in popularity but also means that no one platform dominates anymore.
    • In the same 2018 study, 45% of teens reported that they were online almost always, which is a 24% increase from the 2015 study.
    • Additionally, in the 2018 study 85% of teens in households with an annual income of less than $30,000 reported that they had a digital gaming console at home, which is an increase of 67% from the 2015 study.
    • Between fall of 2017 and fall of 2018, a survey of female teenagers showed that they had grown less likely to look to magazines, advertisements, or beauty retailers to discover new beauty brands and trends, and were more likely to look to online influencers.


  • Within the past year:
    • On YouTube, music, gaming channels, and beauty and style channels have maintained popularity over the past year.
    • While teen consumption of virtual reality and artificial reality was expected to be a major trend, teen interest in this kind of media stagnated in 2019.
  • Within the past 5 years:
    • Web traffic at Teen Vogue has increased over 200% between 2015 and 2017 because of their shift from beauty tips to political activism on issues that teens care about.
    • A 2018 report demonstrated that teens are watching 49% less television from traditional providers than they did five years ago.
    • Between December 2016 and December 2017, teens on Snapchat demonstrated a slight decline of interest in the chat and photo messaging function of the app and a slight increase in the "stories" function of the app.


To begin our research into the shifting media landscape of kids aged 13-18, your research team first conducted a search of research institutions like Pew Research Center to develop a preliminary list of changes in the way teens access media content. This search uncovered a variety of useful information about the popular platforms, and also revealed that while data did exist for changes in the past year, extensive and relevant data existed that showed shifts from the fast five years as well. Because of the wealth of information we uncovered that showed trends that took place on a large scale, that covered specific issues relevant to the research question, and that provided important context for data on changes within the past year, we decided to include shifts from the past five years in our research brief.
Having created a list of important platforms for teens, we began to search for information on the changes in content on these platforms within the past year and within the past five years. While this information required a more in-depth investigation to uncover, we were able to identify shifts in the content that teens consumed from reputable sources like research institutions, marketing publications, and news publications.
Finally, having established a strong framework for the research brief, we conducted a final search for relevant information both about the way teens accessed media and the content that they consumed and concluded the research brief.


From Part 02
  • "For 8- to 12-year-olds, the average time spent using screen media every day was 4 hours and 36 minutes, according to a 2015 Common Sense Media report. Tweens spent an average of 4½ hours per day with screen media and 6 hours with all media, including reading and listening to music."
  • "The report said the top activity among tweens was watching TV: Nearly 62% of those surveyed said they watch TV every day."
  • "Mobile devices accounted for 41% of all screen time among tweens."
  • "Through this lens, one can see, for example, that 62 percent of tweens say they watch TV “every day” and that TV watching tops the list of daily activities among this age group. "
  • " Tweens (8- to 12-yearolds) use an average of about six hours’ (5:55) worth of entertainment media daily. "
  • " Among tweens, the top activity is watching TV: Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) say they watch “every day” (by comparison, 24 percent watch online videos"
  • "Overall, mobile devices now account for 41 percent of all screen time among tweens"
  • "Much research exists on adolescents and screen use, but Domoff said that to her knowledge this is the first tool in the United States that measures screen media addiction in children ages 4-11. She believes it will be a valuable tool for parents, clinicians and researchers."