Kids Do More Than Play Games Online

    February 21, 2007

For children ages 6-11 the most common online activity is playing games with 48 percent saying they had done so at least once in the last month according to new data from Experian Simmons. While that is not a major revelation what is surprising is that 21 percent said they had used the Internet to do homework and research.

Doing homework online ranks third in the most common online activities for children and trails behind the second most popular activity which is visiting a favorite Web site with 25 percent of children saying they had done so in the past month according to the data.

After television the two most important types of media for children are video games and the Internet according to a September 2006 study by Mindshare. Other types of media such as newspapers, magazines and radio barley show up on children’s radar. The reason the Internet ranks, as an important form of media for children is that allows them to communicate with their friends.

While teachers may be requiring students to do homework online parents are also encouraging their children to use the Internet for research. According to a January 2007 study by Nickelodeon 98 percent of parents use the Internet.

eMarketer estimates that the percentage of 8-to-11-year-olds using the Internet will reach 71 percent by 2010, up from 67 percent in 2006. The key for marketers is to pay attention to how this group changes its Internet usage over time.

eMarketer senior analyst Debbie Williamson, author of the Tweens and Teens Online: From Mario to MySpace report, sums it up:

"Significant changes in online usage take place as children mature into teens," says Ms. Williamson. "Young teens between the ages of 12 and 14 spend more time online than tweens ages 8-11, and their interests broaden and deepen correspondingly. But they also use the Internet to stay in touch with things — and people — they already know."

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