One of my favorite expressions is “when you hear hoof beats, don’t look for zebras.” Of course, in Zimbabwe the proverb might be different, but the concept is clear – look for simple explanations first, and then move on to the complex. This adage was on my mind this week as I read coverage of two new studies. One dealt with children, media use and obesity; the other with kids’ active play given different types of playground equipment.
There’s something about Scandinavia. The Northern European region has bred such blockbuster brands as Lego, Minecraft and Toca Boca, the latter of which currently has eight apps in the iTunes US top 40 paid iPhone category – which is as much as Disney and Nickelodeon combined. Toca Boca creative director Jens Peter de Pedro talks to iKids about organizing and infusing freedom into products, and why children’s digital platforms must learn to loosen up.
As this generation grows up never having to wait to watch their favorite shows, new research from Tennessee-based youth and family research firm Smarty Pants delves into the effect of Netflix, YouTube and Hulu on US children’s viewing habits – and where established kidnets have an opportunity to gain some more ground.
Scott Traylor, founder and CEO of Boston-based 360KID, views the latest Joan Ganz Cooney Center report entitled Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in Americaas a springboard for a larger discussion surrounding children’s engagement levels with educational content.
Despite the US toy market seeing overall gains during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping periods, overall 2013 retail dollar sales of toys saw a 1% drop over 2012. That’s according to research firm The NPD Group, which found that the largest sales growth occurred within youth electronics.
With mobile usage among kids soaring and on-demand deals popping up daily, it’s easy to forget about good old TV for a minute. But Americans surely haven’t. In fact, according to Nielsen’s December 2013 cross-platform report, traditional TV is the most-consumed form of media among all demographics by a long shot. However, what’s being viewed as the largest areas of growth this past year is the usage of VOD, as well as ownership of tablets within TV-watching households.
With tablets dominating US Black Friday sales last weekend, a takeover appears to be in full swing. Perpetuating the trend are new numbers from PBS Kids that indicate tablets are tops on parents’ holiday tech purchases list, edging out videogame consoles by more than 10%.