The time Australian kids and teens spend online has increased exponentially over the past seven years, says Lillian Zrim, associate director of marketing effectiveness, cross platform custom insights at research company, Nielsen.
Connected youths aged 2-15 years are spending an average of 11.5 hours with the Internet each week, increasing three-fold since 2007. And the older they become, the more time they spend online. Teens 13-15 years spend 18.7 hours in an average week online – equivalent to more than three days at school. By the time kids reach their teens they are dedicating more time online than their parents.
Australian kids and teens are also being introduced to online media at an increasingly younger age. Today’s connected teens started using the internet at age nine; however, in a decade’s time, tomorrow’s teens would have started as early as two years old.
The adoption of smartphones and tablets in youth households has played an important role in children dedicating more time to online media and encouraging use earlier in life. The mobility, convenience, ease of use of these devices and the availability of content for younger audiences – particularly via the use of apps – has contributed to this growing behaviour.
Device usage differs by age. Tablets are the favoured device for youths to start their relationship with digital media; however, as kids get older they add more devices to their repertoire (laptops, desktops), with mobile phones becoming increasingly important in the teenage years. Understanding which platform to engage different youth segments will help reach the right audience.
So how do today’s youth get to the content they’re looking for online? Converse to their elders, kids and teens are more likely to link directly to the content they want via an app. Tweens aged 10-12, however, are a slight exception to this rule; they are more likely to type in a URL or use search to get to their destination – highlighting the importance for smart search optimisation tactics and clear communication of URL’s when targeting this age group.
Teens, in particular, already have serious purchase potential too. Almost a third (32%) researched a product online in the past month and 17% purchased an item during the same period.