Nickelodeon recently released a new study that looks into technology use by kids ages 8 – 14 and parents of kids ages 0 – 14. This new report called The Digital Family is mentioned as a follow-up to an earlier Nickelodeon report released in 2006 called Living in a Digital World which cited that 86% of kids ages 8 – 14 are playing video games online. While this earlier report has some very interesting findings about kids and video game, television, instant messaging and chat room use, the publicly available findings are not necessarily data rich. However, this new report is chock-full of great stats, providing excellent insight into Internet, cell phone, television and MP3 player use.
Among the key findings in this study, kids, as well as parents, report:
- a decline in the use of and a reliance on newspapers, maps, and dictionaries because of the availability of information found on the Internet
- a decline in radio listening as a result of MP3 players
- a continuing and growing interest in TV viewing and use of TV as a means to relax and unwind
- a declining interest in purchasing of music albums and CDs
- safety and piece-of-mind from owning a cell phone
- the empowering, creative, and educational benefits of having access to the Internet
- parents using the Internet over 33 hours a month and kids using the Internet more than 19 hours a month
- parents being just as tech savvy or even more so than their children
What this report calls into question is:
- older incorrect assumptions about digital media use and digital media consumption by kids and adults
- shifting perceptions about what is “important knowledge”
- traditional school skills being outdated
- the value of older print-based media and radio
- traditional music and information distribution method
- incorrect perceptions about parents ability to keep up with kids when it comes to technology
Technology and the Internet continue to change the world of kids as well as parents in amazing ways. And surprisingly television looks like it will be the only older media format to have ongoing staying power for young and old. But if there’s one thing you can rely on as a result of this study’s findings is that more change in our future… change with how technology will impact media consumption, communication, learning, family dynamics and wider social interactions. Assumptions about the way things have always been are being challenged in a significant way. The rules of child engagement are being rewritten right before our very eyes.
To read the full Nickelodeon Press release, and see the wealth of stats, click here.