Family board game

COVID-19 is changing how kids spend their time

Netflix and YouTube usage is down; family-oriented TikTok and board game time are up. Kids Insights dives into how the lockdown is shifting the family dynamic.
May 4, 2020

Through its weekly tracking of kid attitudes, UK-based research firm Kids Insights has noticed a shift in children’s outlook as the pandemic progresses. And their new, more stressed-out attitudes are having an impact on the whole family.

The research company, which surveys 400 kids across the US each week (and 3,000 globally), has found that, while in countries like France, Italy and Germany, Netflix consumption is up, in the US, fewer kids are turning to the SVOD during the pandemic. Kids Insights found that just 58% of kids were watching the streamer, compared to 69% in the previous 12 months. YouTube has also seen a dip in US traffic, with just 52% of kids in the US tuning in, compared to 63% over the past year.

While the stalwarts may be dipping, kids are increasingly turning to eSports to both watch and play, with the category seeing a 28% spike in the month of April compared to the previous 12 months. (And platforms should take note: The survey found that more than half of US respondents said they have influence over their parents’ subscription choices.)

As to what kids were watching, the stress of the pandemic has them tuning into more light-hearted and comedic fare, with six in 10 watching a comedy or something with low stakes, compared to just 30% between April 2019 and March 2020.

The comfort content makes sense as youth are particularly stressed out, according to Kids Insights. One in five kids in the US has concerns about the economy, while globally, a third of 13- to 18-year-olds say that mental health has become their biggest concern, beating anxiety over issues such as bullying and terrorism.

For many families, the impact and destruction the virus will have on the lives, health, and financial situation of the home will be devastating,” said Sarah Riding, research and trends director at Kids Insights, in a release.

Globally, there have been shifts in how families spend time together, the report says. Stuck at home with siblings and parents, Kids Insights notes that board games, the pinnacle of a family together activity, has doubled in popularity among all kids, becoming the fourth-most popular “toy” in the US, behind name-brands like Nerf, LEGO and Minecraft.

Similarly, the family-oriented trend can be seen in the continued growth of TikTok (up 6.6% among US kids, and the second-most popular app among respondents, according to the release). The survey found that families are increasingly finding a place as a collective on the social site. “We have seen in the last few weeks families come together to co-create dance routines and replicate crazes such as ‘flip the switch’ [while] #pullinparents has totalled almost 50 million views so far,” it found.

Parents, exposed to their kids’ favourite influencers (either through the passive watching they’re doing on YouTube and video games, or the active participation on TikTok) will help put the related CP at the fore of the adults minds. And, with more togetherness, kids will have a louder voice at the decision-making table, the report finds. “We predict there will be greater consideration placed over what the ‘whole’ family desires.”

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

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