Talk of the playground: Tablets

This month, Dubit asks kids about their awareness and usage of adult and kids tablets and touch screen phones.
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With the High Street awash with tablet computers at a range of price points, there really does seem to be a tablet for everybody – even kids. But are young children interested in tablets, and if they are what do they want them for?

A study conducted by specialist youth research agency, Dubit, shows that although there is a range of tablets aimed specifically at children, kids still have highest awareness of the iPad, despite their access to one being relatively low.

In fact, 79 per cent of the 320 six to ten year olds surveyed by Dubit were aware of the Apple product. This compares with 59 per cent who were aware of Leapfrog’s LeapPad and VTech’s Innotab, although both these are relatively new on the scene.

Awareness of the iPad is particularly high among nine and ten year olds, with over 92 per cent knowing what one was.

Highest awareness of non-Apple tablets (such as those from Samsung, Sony, and Acer) was recorded among ten year olds, at 15 per cent.

However, while many children are aware of iPads, only 19 per cent have access to them. The closest touchscreen device they have access to are actually smartphones: 52 per cent of ten year olds say they have one or use one.

So how do kids use the various tablets and touchscreen devices? Well, the top line is that the iPad is used more for games, films and other entertainment, with the more child-focused tablets being used for reading, drawing and more educational pursuits.

The iPad is used for playing games by 96 per cent of children (that have access to one) and only 36 per cent ever read books on the device. Compare this to child tablets – which have a heavy focus on educational reading applications – 62 per cent of children use them for reading and 59 per cent for playing games. The iPad is also the most popular device for general entertainment media, with 54 per cent of the sample watching TV shows or films on the device, making that the second most popular function. Watching films and TV on smartphones was only done by 19 per cent of children. The more child-focused tablets were at a disadvantage here as they don’t have comparable apps or online stores.

When it comes to being used for other creative activities, both the iPad and child tablets are on an equal footing, with half of kids using the iPad to draw, against 44 per cent drawing on the LeapPad or Innotab.

Although many High Street stores are expecting tablets to be atop of the grown-ups’ Christmas lists, this year’s research shows that only 30 per cent of six to ten year olds are expecting a new tablet in their stocking. Of those who do hope to find a tablet under the tree, 13 per cent have their eyes on an iPad, while seven per cent have asked Santa for a LeapPad and one per cent an Innotab.

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