Connecting with Kids Online

eMarketer notes: Kids today are practically born wired. No longer restricted to the home computer or school, digital media now accompanies them wherever they go thanks to the growing universe of mobile devices.

“Kids represent a new generation of consumers who are more connected and reachable,” said Jared Jenks, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report “Demographic Profile—Children.” “But they grow more distracted—and hence unreachable—with every new connection. Breaking through the noise will mean speaking to them on their media and their terms.”

And their media are decidedly digital. eMarketer estimates 40% of US children under 12 will go online at least monthly this year. Nearly half will do so by 2015.

US Child Internet Users, 2010-2015 (millions and % of child population)

Kids are also spending more time online. According to Harris Interactive, 82% of internet users ages 10 to 12 spent at least an hour online the day before they were polled in 2010. That was up from 75% the year before. Among younger children ages 8 and 9 the increase was even greater, from 61% to 76%.

One big online activity for kids is watching video. eMarketer estimates that nearly 12 million children under 12 will be online video viewers in 2011. By 2015, 70% of online kids will download or stream video from the web at least monthly.

US Child Online Video Viewers, 2010-2015 (millions and % of child internet users)

Games are another favorite activity, whether on a console, computer, handheld device or phone. Of the children surveyed by Ipsos OTX Media CT who went online and watched TV at the same time, two-thirds cited playing a game as the reason for multitasking.

“Kids’ lives are overflowing with media,” said Jenks. “And kids are receptive to marketing messages—but convincing them to buy is only half the battle. Marketers must walk a fine line between appealing to kids and gaining the approval of parents.”

The full report, “Demographic Profile—Children,” also answers these key questions:

  • What are the demographics of children?
  • How are kids different from other consumers?
  • How do children spend their time with media?
  • What are children’s online activities?
  • How does mobile fit into their lives?

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