• Media for Children between Three and Six Years of Age

    Studies have been carried out which provide helpful and important insights into identifying trends and understanding the current media behaviour of children between the ages of three and six.

    For this particular age group, only few results on media experiences and the extent of media use are available to date. However, the available studies show how media use develops among children between three and six years of age and which aspects play a role in this development.

    • Some of the results of the MiniKIM study are presented in this module. The detailed results of the study can be found on the homepage of Medienpädagogigscher Forschungsverbund Südwest (in German).
    • For a further study, six German publishing houses have joined forces to explore the life and media reality of children between the ages of 4 and 13. The current report for the year 2018 is available on their homepage: Kinder-Medien-Studie (in German).

    Media at Home

    The majority of families with children between the ages of three and six in Germany are comprehensively equipped with a wide variety of media. The media are omnipresent in households, even though most three to six-year-olds do not yet have their own media devices.

    Children’s Equipment

    If children from three to six years have their own media, then these are mostly books and MP3 or CD players. Only with the beginning of school do children increasingly own mobile phones or smartphones, PCs, laptops or television sets.

    However, younger children often have access to the different media in the household via other family members and they use them together.

    Favourite Activities

    Watching television and reading books are at the top of the list of the most popular and most frequently used media for children between the ages of three and six. Radio dramas and audio books, videos, DVDs and computer games are all clearly behind them.

    Children and Television

    Over 50 percent of three to six-year-olds already have a favourite TV channel. The most popular is the children's channel KIKA, followed by SuperRTL, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Children in this age group also often have a favourite show. Their preferences differ as much as their interests in other areas.

    Three to six-year-olds watch television for about three quarters of an hour per day and spend a good half hour with books. Over 40 percent of children already listen to audio books or radio plays on their own. Other media, however, are mostly shared with other family members, i.e. the children read books and watch TV mainly with their parents or siblings.

    Preferences of Three to Six Year Olds

    At this point it should be emphasized that the hobbies of children between the ages of three and six are very multifaceted and that the relationship between media-free and media-related interests is well balanced.

    Children in this age group prefer to deal with books or simply play.

    They prefer to draw, paint and do handicrafts rather than watching DVDs or videos.

    For four to six-year-olds, meeting friends is about as important as watching television. Children also enjoy a wide range of leisure activities: listening to music or to the radio, playing sports, making music, playing computer games, going to the movies or listening to radio plays.

    Comprehension Questions

    1. What kind of media is most preferable by children aged 3-6?

    2. What determines children’s choice of media?

    3. Which media do young children share with other family members?

    4. "The media are used as a source of orientation for children between the ages of three and six." – Explain this statement.