October 31, 2013

Growing up mobile

Posted by: in Europe|North America

Last year we published a study on the tech habits of Gen Z, the generation born after 1995, examining the notion that digital is in their DNA. A few new studies are shedding more light on these habits. Nearly 4 in 10 American kids under age 2 have played games, watched video or the like on a mobile device; by age 8, more than 7 in 10 have used a mobile device, according to a Common Sense Media study released this week. In the U.K., use of tablets at home has tripled, to 42 percent, among kids age 5 to 15 since 2012, and 28 percent of toddlers age 3 to 4 use a tablet at home, according to a new study from Ofcom.

“We’re seeing a fundamental change in the way kids consume media,” Common Sense founder Jim Steyer told Mashable. As a result, this week the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines for a “family media use plan,” recommending that electronic devices be banned during meals and after bedtime and that parents institute rules covering Internet, social media and cellphone use, as The Wall Street Journal reported. Timed around this flurry of news and data, NPR focused on “digital childhood” this week, while The Guardian spent today live-blogging on the topic, spotlighting an array of data and both the upside and the downside of a tech-immersed childhood.

Brands are quickly shifting to appeal to mobile-enabled tots. This week Disney announced it would launch a new series for preschoolers, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, via its Watch Disney Junior mobile app and a website; it will only come to TV next year. “We have been amazed at how quickly kids have embraced this new technology. We’re talking billions of minutes spent watching,” Nancy Kanter, general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, told The New York Times. The company’s research found that more than half of households with kids own a tablet, a 40 percent jump from 2012.

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