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Little Kids Beat Big Kids in Tablet Usage

Elementary students more likely to use tablets for schoolwork than middle, high schoolers

October 7, 2014 | Demographics | Mobile

As young consumers grow from early childhood to their teens, one may assume their adoption of advanced devices would rise too. However, a July 2014 study by Communicus found that, while this was certainly the case for mobile phones, tablets followed a different path. Among US children and teens ages 2 to 17, tablet usage peaked among 6-to-9-year-old kids. Though the older tweens group landed second in usage, prekindergartners (2- to 5-year-olds) came in third—beating out teens.

US Children and Teens Who Own vs. Use a Mobile Phone or Tablet, by Age, July 2014 (% of respondents in each group)

Tablet ownership told a slightly different story. Here, tweens ranked No. 1, with a 57% response rate. But kids still topped teens, at 46% vs. 42%. Though they landed in last, prekindergartners showed impressive ownership of 33%—and 50% were already asking their parents to buy them one.

Owners or not, 2- to 17-year-olds want tablets. While it’s unsurprising that 51% of those without such a device reported pestering their parents for one, the same percentage of owners were asking as well—never wanting to miss out on the hottest new model.

Frequency with Which US Student Internet Users Use Select Devices for Schoolwork, by Grade Level, Feb 2014 (% of respondents)

Communicus reported that 60% of child and teen internet users turned to a tablet for schoolwork. While an earlier survey by Harris Poll for Pearson put this figure at 48%, tablet usage skewed younger here as well. The majority (56%) of US elementary web users studied used a tablet for schoolwork, and 34% did so two times a week or more. In comparison, 48% of middle school respondents and 45% of high schoolers used tablets for schoolwork. When asked about smartphones, the order flip-flopped.

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