Kids Using Electronic Devices at Earlier Ages

June 6, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Television | Videogames | Youth & Gen X

The average age at which children begin using consumer electronic (CE) devices has declined from 8.1 years in 2005 to 6.7 years in 2007, according to NPD Group’s recently released report, “Kids and Consumer Electronics Trends III.”

The report, which studies the penetration of consumer electronics in kids’ lives and measures device-usage dynamics and trends.

Children begin using electronic devices at approximately 7 years of age, on average, with televisions and desktop computers providing the youngest initial exposure (about 4 or 5 years of age), and satellite radios and portable digital media players (PDMP) providing the oldest (about 9 years of age), NPD said.

Some findings from the study:

  • Since the 2005, nearly all of the various electronic devices have registered a decline in average age at the time of initial use.
  • Kids use electronic devices an average of roughly three days per week, with non-portable televisions (5.8 days), cell phones (4.3 days) and digital video recorders (4.1 days) registering the highest use.
  • The devices mentioned most as having been bought during the previous year are cell phones, digital cameras and PDMPs.
  • However, the average number of consumer-electronics devices owned and used by kids is down slightly compared with the previous two years, as are the number of households that own those devices.
  • Nearly 25% of households surveyed moreover claimed to have made no electronics purchases in the previous 12 months.
  • Though a majority of parents indicate they would be interested in a branded kids’ version of an electronic device, the level of interest has declined from 83% in 2006 to 74% in 2007.

Portable videogame systems are at the top of kids’ list of CE devices, with a penetration rate of 39 percent, followed by portable CD players (30 percent), console videogames (29 percent) and TVs (28 percent), writes NextGeneration, citing the NPD Group’s study.

Kids’ use (not necessarily ownership) of non-portable TVs was 73 percent, followed by desktop computers (69 percent), non-portable DVD players (58 percent) and console videogames (50 percent), according to NextGeneration.

About the study: Data for the report was collected via an online survey of a nationally representative sample of adults ages 25 and older, with children ages 4 to 14 in the household. In order to qualify, respondents’ children had to use at least one consumer electronic device measured in the study. Fieldwork was conducted from March 16 to March 22, 2007.

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