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New study finds world of content opens for kids after age eight

A unique new study on kids and families media consumption habits from New York-based researcher Ipsos has pinpointed the demographic sweet spot when parents begin to yield to their kids' desire for any number of media-playing devices.
June 16, 2010

A unique new study on kids and families media consumption habits from New York-based researcher Ipsos has pinpointed the demographic sweet spot when parents begin to yield to their kids’ desire for any number of media-playing devices.

‘There seems to be this magic age between eight and nine when the world sort of opens up for kids,’ says Donna Sabino, SVP of kids and family insights at Ipsos OTX MediaCT. ‘They have been asking since probably they were four but between the ages of eight and nine parents start to say ‘yes’ to handheld gaming devices, MP3 players, cellphones and other products.’

Sabino’s insight is drawn from findings from LMX (Longitudinal Media Experience) Family, an annual syndicated research study launched by Ipsos OTX MediaCT. Canvassing 2,000 US kids online between the ages of six and 12, the study’s unique methodology includes an examination of detailed journals from the participants as well as getting input from the parents of the children surveyed. The comprehensive study of media habits of kids and families yielded many notable observations.

‘We also learned that Mom is a primary driver,’ says Sabino. ‘The top reason is safety, but the result is that all of a sudden the kids are empowered to experience a wide variety of information and data.’

Sabino adds that once a child obtains a new technological tool an entire marketplace of content, including ring tones, movies, games, video and chat, opens to them. Yet, it’s not all about entertainment content.

‘The role of media and technology has gone far beyond entertainment for this generation of kids and parents,’ says Sabino, adding that technology is utilized to help navigate the challenges of everyday modern life.

As well, the study found that many parents are allowing their kids to consume all sorts of content that regulatory boards have deemed inappropriate for the demo.

‘We saw a lot of kids between six and 12 who are seeing movies and playing video games rated PG 13,’ she says. ‘At the end of the day, it proves that parents are the final decision makers. While I’m sure they find the ratings helpful, parents really believe they are the ones that know their kids best.’

This year’s study marks the first time that Ipsos OTX MediaCT and Infotools, a supplier of database services, reporting data viewing tools, have teamed up to produce a user-friendly interface for subscribers of the service to navigate the firm’s findings.

According to Sabino, the timing couldn’t be better for a more detailed look at kids and parent’s media habits.

‘Kids and parents are a microcosm of the rest of our society,’ she says. ‘There never has been a time when more things are changing and more things are happening. There hasn’t been as interesting a time in kids research as there is now.’

For more information on the LMX Family study visit the Ipsos site .

About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at garyrusak@gmail.com

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