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New report shows kids multitasking more than ever

A recent study from Port Washington, New York's The NPD Group could help entertainment players get a handle on how leisure-time technology is fitting into kids' lives these days. Kids' Leisure Time II sheds light on how two- to 12-year-olds spend their time in a typical week. And just when we thought they couldn't pack anything else into their busy lives, it seems they have.
April 1, 2007

A recent study from Port Washington, New York’s The NPD Group could help entertainment players get a handle on how leisure-time technology is fitting into kids’ lives these days. Kids’ Leisure Time II sheds light on how two- to 12-year-olds spend their time in a typical week. And just when we thought they couldn’t pack anything else into their busy lives, it seems they have.

The study’s most resounding finding is that this generation of kids is multitasking more than ever before, and NPD suggests it raises the bar for manufacturers and other companies trying to engage them. In other words, products and entertainment experiences will have to be even stickier to hold kids’ attention.

According to the research data, kids ages two to 12 spend more than 25% of their 68 weekly hours of down-time engaging in more than one activity at once. Even toddlers are becoming accomplished multitaskers, interacting with music devices, TV, toys, computers and other kids simultaneously. The study’s online survey of 8,500 parents found that 46% of kids ages two to four multitasked while watching TV, 61% while primarily listening to music, and 39% while playing with toys.

In general, activities that don’t require a lot of focus, such as listening to music or hanging out with friends, pretty much never get a kid’s full attention these days. And the explosion of portable devices in the home has only upped the tendency to multitask, as it gives kids the ability to take their interests with them anywhere they go.

As for what topped the leisure list overall, watching TV or movies at home is still king (96%), followed by playing with toys or board games (84%), listening to music (66.8%), using the computer for fun (60.3%), reading (59.6%) and playing video games (55.6%).

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