Tablet devices are now in half of all homes and kids are increasingly using apps are two key findings of research into children’s media consumption habits released by Cartoon Network.
TV, tablets and smart phones have become the dominant force for entertainment in Australian homes as kids with spending power of $1.6 billion redefine the media landscape the Cartoon Network’s 10th New Generations survey has revealed.
One of the leading studies of children and their parents in Australia, New Generations has highlighted the growing influence of apps as a safe haven for kids in the digital age along with television. In the space of just 18 months the use of apps by kids has doubled to 69 per cent, mirroring a massive leap in the ownership of tablets and smart phones in homes.
Peter Hammer, Senior Manager Strategic Research for Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, said that the combination of internet enabled devices and TV viewing was creating powerful ways to connect with kids.
“Apps have redefined the way that parents are entertaining their kids,” Mr Hammer said. “The rapid explosion of smart devices, within just a few short years, has quickly changed the way that kids are accessing the internet and playing games”
The research found kids between 4 and 14 had used an average of 7.1 apps in the previous month, more often using their own smart phones, or one borrowed from a parent or sibling, as household penetration reached 85 per cent. Tablets can now be found in 48 per cent of Australian homes and 30 per cent of all kids use a tablet to access the internet. Games were the most popular apps used by kids, while the use of consoles in spare time for gaming dropped 32 per cent since the last survey in 2011.
“This year we have seen quite a marked drop in gaming console use as we see kids gravitate towards smart phones and other app-enabled devices, like the iPod Touch or iPad, for their gaming” he said.
When kids hit the internet, games continue to be most popular pastime, while this year’s survey found that online video had now surpassed social networking in usage. Across Australia, kids were found to watch an average of 10 minutes of online video a day with music videos, TV episodes and movies more popular than user generated content.
Family viewing continues to be an important part of children’s lives, with three out of four parents watching TV with their kids in the last week, most often enjoying movies and cartoons.
Beyond media consumption, New Generations revealed that kids spending power is at an all time high totalling $1.6 billion, despite a slight drop in pocket money, down from $12.38 in 2011 to $11.89 per week. However, they were making up for the shortfall through gift money and paid work outside the home. The survey also revealed the power of Subscription TV homes, compared to Free to Air only households, with these kids having access to 62 per cent more spending money on average.
“When you look at that $1.6 billion in spending power, kids are a force to be reckoned with and yet, as a market, are often neglected,” Mr Hammer said. “Our research also shows that kids have great influence over their parents spending as well.”
When it comes to working out what to spend their money on, Mr Hammer said that TV and internet advertising were seen by children as the best ways to learn about new toys, games, movies and technology. At the same time the research showed that parents welcomed advertising as a way to learn what their kids wanted, with 6-in-7 agreeing that TV advertising introduced them to new and relevant products for their kids.
“This gives us a clear idea of the relative value of TV and further proves that it is still the strongest advertising medium in the market,” he said.