Online Kids Consume More Media

It may seem hard to believe, but there is an entire generation of Americans growing up that never knew life before the Internet. According to Simmons Market Research Bureau, America’s online kids are heavier consumers of all media, not just the Internet.

Simmons found that online kids are eager to gobble up every type of media from television to magazines to movies.

“These online kids are on the leading edge of the youth market,” said Steve Carnevale, General Manager at Simmons Market Research Bureau. “They’re the ones who are driving trends across industry segments. These kids have spending power, and advertisers need to understand not only what makes them tick, but also which media outlets best reach them.”

The “Simmons Kids Study” studied 5,000 children ages 6 to 11 nationwide. It found the gender split in online kids is equal between boys and girls: 50/50. More than half (58 percent) of wired kids are between the ages of 9 and 11.

Online kids watch more TV than their non-online counterparts (76 percent vs. 66 percent); go to the movies more often (81 percent vs. 64 percent); and read more magazines (58 percent vs. 36 percent). Computer lovers are also more likely to read more books in addition to their schoolbooks (90 percent) than those who don’t use computers (85 percent). Both groups favor adventure books, but wired kids turn to mysteries while their counterparts are more apt to open up a fairy tale.

Media Use by Kids
Medium Online Kids Offline Kids
TV 76% 66%
Movies 81% 64%
Magazines 58% 36%
Books 90% 85%
Source: Simmons Market Research Bureau

The Simmons survey also found that kids who are online users play more sports than their peers, with swimming, biking, and bowling topping their list of preferences. Kids with computers own software for games (57 percent), word processing (49 percent), educational activities (49 percent), and email (28 percent).

As for future plans, 80 percent of the kids online say they are likely to go to college, as compared to 72 percent of those not wired. Once they get to college, members of this generation will continue to see the benefits of technology. According to the Best Buy Digital Decade Survey, 17 percent of current college freshmen registered for classes on their school’s Web site or via email, compared to just 4 percent in 1990.

Almost one-quarter (24 percent) of college freshmen this year will be packing a laptop computer for class on a regular basis. Eleven percent will have PDAs. The Internet is also the most widely used research tool for college students, with 85 percent citing its use, according to the Best Buy survey.

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