THE KIDS ARE ONLINE

Dec 03

THE KIDS ARE ONLINE

I just read on eMarketer that in 2011 there will be about 20.2 million children under the age of 11 going online at least once a month from any location. By 2014, the number will be about 24.9 million kids, or 47.8% of this young population.

The article also says that families with young children (under age 6) are using their phones to find stores (64%), local information and activities via an app (61%), even to buy something online (36%).

I’m not really surprised by these findings. The other day I was on the phone with my 7-year-old nephew who was explaining what Lego set he wanted for Christmas. He wasn’t in front of the computer but was directing me exactly where I could find it on Amazon.com. I was waiting for him to tell me the item code.

A friend of mine has kids, ages 6 and 9. Their grandmother purchased them each a mobile phone so they could text her.  And I also see kids (who I know) under the age of 10 on Facebook who have “friended” me.

All you moms, dads out there, I’d like to hear what you think. How do you monitor this? Make sure there are controls?

These stats also open up avalanche of opportunities for marketers to further tap into the consumer needs and wants of kids. Is this a good thing?

7 comments

  1. Ron Williams /

    Look, I ‘ll admit I caved and gave my 14 year old a cell phone, but at that age, he’s going out with friends after school and he needs to be able to communicate with his parents.

    But my 6 year old has no need whatsoever for a cell phone. I mean, really, what’s the point? I really think we are giving under aged children too many opportunities to cause problems, both developmental, as well as, real-world problems, like (dare I say it) allowing intruders into our lives.

    It’s okay to give them some access to computers and other technologies, but they should be monitored and have the necessary restrictions so as not to interfere with the really important things in their lives, like education, for example…

  2. So true… and rather disconcerting to some of us oldsters! Two true stories: #1 (Named “We’re being left in the dust!”) My brother-in-law (Mr. Super-bright MD/Ph.D) just left for a medical conference in Paris. He purchased an iPod to have some entertainment on the plane, and ended up requiring my teenager to create an iTunes account and load it up with music. #2 (Named: Not EVERYTHING has to be done on an iPhone!) My boss was caught in heavy traffic the other day, and asked her daughter how the freeway looked. Her daughter begans searching traffic on her iPhone, instead of craning her neck a block to the right to LOOK at the freeway above. Monitoring – we don’t monitor texting…can’t monitor it any better than I can their hallway conversations. We do place home computers in public areas, or require that the door stay open while they’re on, and I do check history on my 12-year-old’s computer. And I like the games that have parental control features (World of Warcraft) allowing you to set up time limits and chat room limits – heartily in favor of automated controls!

  3. And Ron is right. What six-year-old needs a phone? But once they hit middle school, you can try to resist, but the fact is that payphones no longer work, the office ladies do not allow them to call home, and if they’re involved in any afterschool activities or field trips with negotiable bus times, they either need to borrow a friend’s phone (gets old fast), or they need one if they’re going to reach you. Annoying fact of life.

  4. Thomas Plesser /

    Children have no need to be on the computer and should not have a phone. My children had limited supervised access to our computers. They did not get a cell phone until they were in their mid teens. I never saw the need for my children to have one. Remember, the main purpose of a phone is to talk on it.I want my children only calling to talk to me and not their friends. Texting should not be permitted.

    I do see a major problem for parents. They are the teachers. Now assignments and extra help is all on line. In some schools, students get their own e mail addresses. This is very hard to supervise.

    What ever happened to children being innocent? How about reading a book for information? Why do we “need”to have a computer or a smart phone to get information? I agree it is convenient yet distracting. Children should not have these distractions.

  5. Well my son is 35 so I guess he’s old enough for a cell! But I also agree with Ron as far as age appropriate, and the others on making sure whatever the situation, it is monitored.

    Now my grand-kids have been brought up without much technology except for wii games and nintendo. Yet even that is monitored and more of a special event. My grandson’s favorite thing is sitting at a special spot he has and reading. It has allowed them to be kids a little longer and they seem a bit more in their bodies than many kids where the use of all the technology can make them frenetic.

    I know they will be getting their phones and getting on the computers soon, but taking it slow has paid off.

  6. Mike Smith /

    In my opinion we as a society are on a technology greased slippery slope and I see no hope for the children. This cannot end well. Actually it won’t end at all because we are no longer in control.

  7. Vivian Chinelli /

    “I think what we have to do, by word and example, is to teach our children the necessity of doing things in moderation in order to lead a balanced and healthy life.

    I’m still working on learning that myself and I’m 58! I’ve been on my computer for an hour now (doing nothing of great importance) and realize that i could have been walking outside on this beautiful morning.”

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