miniKIM study on media use by two to five-year-oldsMore and more young children have their own tablet and smartphone

Every tenth child between the ages of two and five now has their own smartphone. Every fifth child has their own tablet. In addition, subscriptions to pay TV providers or streaming services are available in many households with young children and are also used by the offspring. These are some of the key findings from the miniKIM 2023 study by the Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest (mpfs). This is the fourth time that basic data on media use by children between the ages of two and five in Germany is available.

The correct use of media by children is one of the most important topics for parents. Around 90% of parents surveyed are interested in this topic. No wonder, as media are omnipresent in both family life and in public. This is also reflected in families' extensive media equipment. With an increase of 50% compared to 2020, one in five toddlers now has their own tablet, and among preschool children (4-5 years) this figure is already 28%. According to parents, one in ten children between the ages of two and five also hastheir own cell phone or smartphone. Smart devices allow children who are not literate to access online content using voice or gesture control. Today, 23% of two to five-year-olds use at least one device with internet access such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop or voice assistant every day. If media libraries, streaming services, computer games or apps are added to the mix, 44% use these digital services every day.

Streaming and pay TV

81% of families have a streaming subscription and one in five families (22%) has at least one pay TV subscription. Taking all video options together, from streaming platforms to media libraries and traditional television, 84% of young children use at least one of these services every week. Children most frequently watch programs regularly via pay streaming services (59%), followed by free video portals (51%) and the use of online offers from TV broadcasters (45%). This means that these options are now all more popular than the use of linear television (40%).

Picture book and jukebox

The most popular medium among pre-school children remains the (picture) book: according to the parents surveyed, 27% of children would not want to do without this medium. A fifth of the children would miss the television the most, 15 percent the portable jukebox. If children are allowed to choose a medium to occupy themselves, 27% would also choose a (picture) book. In second and third place are programs or videos via paid streaming services and free video portals such as YouTube.


The majority of respondents are rather critical of children's use of smartphones. 88% believe that smartphones pose many dangers for children, while just under three-fifths think that smartphones are generally not suitable for children (58%). However, around half of the main parents also see advantages to children using the devices, such as the potential to learn and experience new things (52%) or to learn through play (46%). 26% are of the opinion that the devices are suitable for young children due to their ease of use. A quarter of respondents use their smartphone to keep their child occupied when they want to do something themselves.

About the study

With the miniKIM 2023 study, the Medienpädagogische Forschungsverbund Südwest (mpfs) is presenting basic data on the media use of children between the ages of two and five for the fourth time. For the study, a total of 600 primary educators were surveyed online about their children's media behavior. The study is representative of German-speaking primary parents of children aged two to five in online households in Germany. All editions of the miniKIM study are available as PDF files at

The Medienpädagogische Forschungsverbund Südwest (mpfs) is a cooperative project of the Landesanstalt für Kommunikation Baden-Württemberg, the Medienanstalt Rheinland-Pfalz and the Südwestrundfunk.