Germany’s Latest ‘KIM-Studie’: Children’s Media Usage Is Mobile and Busy

In News by Ingrid Süßmann

The 2016 KIM-Studie shows German children aged 6 to 13 utilizing media mostly in mobile channels, with gaming figuring prominently, reading less so.

In Germany’s new KIM-Studie, children’s media usage is characterized as advanced, relative to the many media devices reported in homes for kids’ use. Image – iStockphoto: VeJaa

By Ingrid Süßmann

22 Minutes of Reading Reported Daily
Since 1999, Germany’s Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest (MPFS, or Pedagogical Media Research Center, Southwest) has made periodic studies of “the value of the media in the everyday life of children” aged 6 to 13.

The survey sample includes interviews, in person and in writing, with some 1,200 children.

In this chart, we see children’s reports of their favorite media activities related to time of day. Books, bücher, are mentioned in relation most to bedtime. Image: KIM-Studie 2016

Key Findings of the 2016 KIM-Studie
  • Children are surrounded by media: nearly every household owns a television, a mobile or smart phone, a computer (desktop or laptop), and has Internet access.
  • The nature of those devices available at home turns out to be significant, in that 77 percent of respondents say they rarely use a laptop or a desktop. Mobile devices, in other words, are primary tools.
  • Media possession is classified as being advanced in the study’s results: 51 percent responding say they own a mobile/smart phone; 45 percent say they own a CD player or gaming console; 20 percent say they own a desktop/laptop computer; and 5 percent say they have their own tablet.
  • Reading books plays important role, according to the children surveyed, 48 percent reporting that they read regularly and 84 percent saying they read “at least once in a while.”
  • Girls, the study indicates, are more avid readers than boys in Germany, a trend that runs parallel to patterns in other Western nations such as the United States and United Kingdom: 59 percent of the girls say they read regularly, compared to 39 percent of the boys.
  • Bookstores and libraries are used relatively infrequently, according to respondents, 44 percent of the children saying they use them.
  • Regular activities listed by respondents are watching TV (95 percent); meeting friends (94 percent); homework and studying (93 percent); and playing inside (93 percent) and outside (92 percent).
  • In terms of being online, 77 percent of the children say they infrequently use a desktop or laptop, either at home, at a friend’s home or at school and two thirds of kids use the Internet at least infrequently. Their main activities online are reported to be searching the Internet; sending WhatsApp messages; watching YouTube videos; using children-specific home pages; and generally surfing the Internet.
  • As for digital gaming—covering all channels from console to smartphone—seven out of 10 kids say they play regularly. Somewhat more boys (75 percent) than girls (64 percent) say they’re interested in gaming, while generally this interest grows with age.
  • Regular media usage is defined by KIM as meaning at least once a week. And the children asked say they engage weekly in using a smartphone (59 percent) and a tablet (28 percent).
  • And as to the amount of time spent with media daily, respondents report 88 minutes spent watching TV; 39 minutes using the Internet; 32 minutes playing online games; 28 minutes listening to radio; 22 minutes reading books; 19 minutes playing games on a mobile or smartphone; and seven minutes playing games on tablets.

This chart indicates books favored by responding children. English-speaking readers will note that ‘Gregs Tagebuch’ is ‘Greg’s Diary’ or ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’. Image: KIM-Studie 2016

Further Information

More material on different ages is available online, and each of several studies has an English-language summary, highlighting important findings.

There’s data from the see the JIM study for ages 12 to 19 and the MiniKIM study for ages 2 to 5).

For family media usage, see the FIM study for families with children ages 3 to 19).

The full KIM study for ages 6 to 13 is here.

About the Author

Ingrid Süßmann

Ingrid Süßmann is an IT Project Manager at Droemer Knaur in Munich, Germany. She previously worked as Author Relations Manager for neobooks, and has held various positions at Random House Germany and Carlsen Verlag. In addition to her work in book publishing, Ingrid is also a certified beekeeper and fan of baby donkeys.