Kids Pick Internet Over TV in Asia-Pacific, Study Finds - eMarketer
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Kids Pick Internet Over TV in Asia-Pacific, Study Finds

For this group, accessing the web means picking up a smartphone

TV has already been displaced by the internet as the medium of choice among kids in Asia-Pacific. According to a poll conducted by mobile ad and content platform TotallyAwesome in October 2016, more than three-quarters (77%) of internet users ages 6 to 14 living in one of seven Asia-Pacific countries said they would rather only have access to the internet than just be able to watch television. (The survey defined Asia-Pacific as Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.)

Child/Teen Internet Users in Select Countries in Asia-Pacific Who Would Choose* Internet over TV, Oct 2016 (% of respondents)

The divide between television and the internet was strongest in Thailand, where 98% of kids chose the web over television. That may be due to the strong presence of internet in the country; eMarketer estimates that 55.5% of the population in Thailand will access the web at least monthly this year.

But even in Vietnam, where television’s hold was strongest, 66% of children still preferred the web. Vietnam has an internet penetration rate that is comparable with Thailand’s (eMarketer projects 54.1% of the population will access the web in 2017), but it also has a state-run media environment that exerts a lot of control of what people see and hear.

The use of the internet is indelibly tied to smartphones for these young digital natives. According to TotallyAwesome, smartphones had a very high penetration rate in the homes of respondents, found in 95% of them. That was just slightly more than the 94% rate for televisions.

And more than half (58%) of children said they used a smartphone multiple times per day.

The level of smartphone use in the sample group suggests that the respondents are not fully representative of the population as a whole. The survey only included internet users, so that would partly explain the high smartphone penetration rate. eMarketer estimates that for Asia-Pacific as a whole, 32.7% of the population will be smartphone users in 2017. Looking at the population of internet users in Asia-Pacific, eMarketer estimates that of that group, 70.1% will be smartphone users.

The TotallyAwesome survey found that time spent on the internet also climbed as children got older. While those ages 6 to 8 spent an average of almost 2.5 hours using the internet during weekdays, that figure climbed by almost 1 hour among 12- to 14-year-olds.

Rahul Chadha

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