The Finnish Barometers indicate that different children and adolescents operate in different ways in the media environment. Personal preferences in media develop at an early age, around the age of 3 or 4. Even before school age, there are already differences in media preference between boys and girls. For example, boys typically play games, use the internet and read comics more than girls do. Girls, instead, read more books than do
boys. The media environments of different age groups also differ. Between the ages of seven and nine, children still mainly prefer media content designed for children. By the age of 11, however, the media favourites and amounts of media use already resemble those of adolescents, for example in terms of internet behaviour. For young people, the internet is important, especially as a means of keeping in touch.
Children nowadays use the internet at an ever younger age. In a European comparison from 2010, Finnish children and adolescents aged 9–16 had started using the web at an average age of 7. The data of the Children’s Media Barometer, which were collected in 2010 too, indicated that one out of three 3-year-olds, one half of 5-year-olds and two out of
three 6-year-olds were using the internet. The rapid advancement of technology produces user-friendly communication devices for the needs of children and adolescents. Tablets, for example, are becoming more common in families with children. Children also start
using mobile phones with an internet connection and other mobile devices at a younger age.