My dad worked for IBM for most of my young life, and I remember playing Astro Grover on a floppy disk on our home computer before I was reading books.
The internet invaded most American homes around the mid-to-late 1990s and I remember playing games created in concert with my favorite cartoons on Nick.com while chatting with elementary school friends via AOL Instant Messenger.
Kids have been using the internet since then, but the internet has changed drastically since then, and the percentage of kids using it has only skyrocketed.
The following facts come from this graph, recently posted to Axios.
Let’s highlight four of these facts:
10.9% of Kids Ages 0-11 Have Adopted Social Media
This is troubling for a host of reasons. Most basically, though, it shows that the age restrictions social media platforms have for users are pretty much pointless, which comes as no surprise.
Most social media platforms require you say you are at least 13-years-old in order to create an account on the platform. But there is obviously no way for them to verify this.
Facebook is going after kids with their new Kids Messenger product, though the child has to set up an account through a parent’s Facebook account.
This number is only going to increase.
57.3% of Kids Ages 12-17 Have Adopted Facebook
This number makes sense, and I bet it’s even higher for Instagram (but that data wasn’t provided in the graph or anywhere else I could find).
Facebook is one of the least popular social media platforms among people of this demographic. Most teenagers are using Instagram, Snapchat, tumblr, and YouTube more frequently from other studies I have seen (and just from talking with teenagers I know).
49.5% of Kids Ages 0-11 Have Adopted Digital Video
YouTube Kids is one of the most popular apps on the app store for a reason.
Seriously. Look at that number. Right about 50% of kids from birth to age 11 are watching video on the internet.
In one sense, this isn’t very alarming. Why? Because internet video really just is the new television, and far more than 50% of kids in this age range have watched TV throughout the years.
In another sense, this is very alarming. Why? Because video access on the internet can be so uncontrollable and some of the video content on the internet that can be intentionally or unintentionally discovered by kids of this age is so much more harmful.
93.4% of Kids Ages 12-17 Have Adopted Digital Video
Researchers will probably kill me for saying this, but I’m going to say it anyway. This stat says only 93% of teenagers watch digital video. I promise you that if a teenager has access to the internet, he or she is watching digital video on a regular basis. The 93% this chart shows is deceivingly low, in my opinion.
The future is video. We cannot avoid this fact. It must both motivate us and alarm us.
It should alarm us for obvious reasons that we’ve already explored. The kind of video content that can be discovered intentionally or unintentionally on the internet is vast and often disturbing.
It should motivate us, then, as Christian content creators, to dive headfirst into the video space and start creating God-glorifying video content that entertains and enlightens people.
This is the future of the internet. We adapt or we become irrelevant.
Chris Martin is the Co-Creator and Chief Content Officer at LifeWay Social as well as a Content Strategist at LifeWay. He and his wife Susie live outside Nashville, TN.