America’s kids use the internet for just about everything – playing games, watching videos, maintaining social connections, listening to music, and even doing homework. This makes the internet as integral a part of their lives as it is for adults because it provides connection to what they value. Most kids use the internet daily for fun and friends.
Understanding kids and the internet starts with understanding how often they’re on it. To get this information, KidSay’s Trend Tracker asked over 1000 tweens (8-11 years old) and teens (12-15 years old): ‘How often do you use the internet?’ Over half (54%) said they use it “many times a day,” with another 16% saying they use it at least ”once a day.” That means 70% or most of kids 8-15 say they’re on the web daily.
Insight: Kids say apps are websites.
Kids are becoming less able to distinguish the difference between apps and the websites. The greatest examples of this are in some recent answers to KidSay’s questions regarding kids’ “favorite website” and “favorite social network/virtual world.” For the first time, a handful of tweens named Safari (yes, Apple’s web browser) as their favorite website and social network. More research is needed for a full explanation, but KidSay believes this has A LOT to do with the proliferation of handheld devices.
Instagram presented the first snapshot of this trend.
In the 2012 June/July Trend Tracker, KidSay’s open-ended survey questions provided a context for teen girls to quantitatively reveal kids were beginning not to draw that distinguishing line between apps and websites. Instagram was named as a favorite website. Sure, Instagram is a website, but those familiar with the history will recall Instagram’s browser-based user interface is a relatively new addition. Teen girls named Instagram as their favorite website when the URL led to no more than a splash page. The latest apps to be named in a website-related question are Kik Messenger and Apple’s Safari web browser. KidSay will continue to monitor the situation on all fronts.
Whether in-app or in-browser, the topline priorities of the content are the same.
Like many things in the kids’ market, age and gender influence what kids value on the internet. Tween boys and girls said ‘playing games’ was their #1 activity, while ‘watching videos’ was at #2. America’s teen boys inverted their tween peers’ preferences by most often using the web to watch videos, with playing games at #2. Teen girls prefer to go to a social networking site with ‘watching videos’ at #2. It’s no wonder that they are the source that first revealed social networking apps Instagram and Kik Messenger as web favorites. Qualitatively, KidSay knows that many tweens have been using Kik for quite some time because of its ability to provide some anonymity and it does not require a device with a data plan.