Market Research Shows Tablet Adoption Among Young Children Increasing, Replacing Mobile Phones

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29th October 2013 10:29 - Information Technology

According to new research carried out by Ofcom, the number of children owning a mobile phone has dropped for the first time ever with the new must-have devices being tablet computers. 2013 has seen the ownership of mobile phones among the age group of five to fifteen year olds fall to forty three per cent in a market that has previously seen growth every year since the survey began in 2005.

The study suggests that the shifting numbers are down to two reasons, one being the number of children owning basic (non-smart) phones has almost halved from twenty eight per cent to fifteen per cent over the past year.  The second reason being that the ownership of tablets now equals that of smartphones.  The number of those owning tablets has risen by eighteen per cent with the number of children owning smartphones remaining relatively constant  - also at eighteen per cent.

The research also points towards a division in how younger and older children access the internet with younger users making the quickest transition to tablets. The reason for this appears to be that tablets better meet younger children’s needs, particularly for watching audio-visual content and playing games, whereas older children mainly use smartphones to communicate.  The proportion of children with TVs in their bedroom has also fallen from fifty nine per cent in 2012 to fifty two per cent this year with children more likely to watch programmes and play video games on a device rather than on a TV or games console.  

For the first time ever a drop in number of children having an online social media profile has been recorded, this could have contributed to the recently reported stalling of social media adoption in the UK. Furthermore, around forty seven per cent of parents also admit that their children know more about the internet and computers than they do.

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