Insights from the MRS Kids & Youth Research Conference 2016
3rd February 2016 10:02
Written by Gill Redfern, Research Director
What a thought provoking and inspiring day I had at the MRS Kids & Youth Research conference last week! It was a jam packed day with papers from clients and agencies, covering a variety of themes and discussion points, but all explored some of the different challenges and opportunities that arise when conducting research with Millennials and Generation X. I feel privileged to have had an opportunity to share the stage with such an inspiring bunch and present our paper on Chatter Zone, demonstrating ‘how reward and gamification in online research communities delivers results.’
As fellow Homo sapiens we, as adults, may share some fundamental similarities with our younger counterparts but what became abundantly clear over the course of the day was just how different kids and youth audiences are, and of course what the implications mean for market research data collection methods, research methodologies, and even our analysis and interpretation.
Some of the highlights that I took away with me included the changes in TV viewing habits as kids get older, with the TV set moving from first choice platform amongst 3 – 6 year olds, to third place by the time they reach their teen years (behind mobile devices and computers/laptops)! What’s more a whopping 96% of teens in the UK now have access to the internet!
Something that was discussed - that we’ve also observed amongst our Chatter Zone kids - is a shift in online search behaviours amongst this young audience, where YouTube and apps now rule; Katie French, BBC's Head of Audiences – Children’s and Learning summed it up perfectly ‘You Tube is the google for kids!’
The proliferation of smart phones amongst tween and teen audiences has also resulted in a shift in their online device of choice, moving from laptop/PC to mobile phones over the last 10 years. While during the same period pre-schoolers have adopted the tablet as their online media platform of choice.
Exploring the relationship and use of social media was a popular theme across many of the papers and of course the audience couldn’t fail to be moved by some of the kids sharing their experiences of the influence and dominance it can play in young people’s lives today. Ofcom’s Emily Keany also shared data on the top social media apps/sites used by 12 – 15 year olds, and again something we have also observed amongst our Chatter Zone kids is that while Facebook still dominates the social media of kids and teens, its share is in decline, while Instagram, Snapchat and You Tube are growing at pace .
We will watch with fascination to see what the picture looks like in another ten years as Millennials and Generation X kids and teens continue to shape and dictate the future of technology, media and brands.
On a lighter note, did you solve the riddle from our last news item?
I have an eye, but cannot see; you'll head inside, when you see me! What am I?
If you would like to pose a question to our community of kids and teens at Chatter Zone please get in touch via email email@example.com give us a call 01663 767857 and of course you can tweet us follow us on Instagram or like our Facebook page.
 Katie French, BBC
 Emily Keany, OfCom