- More than 60% of parents claiming that their child uses a touchscreen
- Most popular use is games
- Increasingly they have their own device
By Mark Prigg
PUBLISHED: 14:34 EST, 21 February 2014 | UPDATED: 18:15 EST, 21 February 2014
The touchscreen has overtaken every other toy for children, new research has found.
The poll found more than 60% of parents claiming that their child uses a touchscreen.
They have overtaken dolls, action figures, board games and other traditional toys – and experts say their popularity is still rocketing.
Touchscreens have overtaken every other type of toy to become the most popular way children play, researchers have found
‘I have never seen a more intuitive technology for children,’ said Michael Cohen.
His firm, the Michael Cohen Group (MCG) today released the results of its recent nationwide survey, which polled 350 parents about the play habits of their children 12 and younger.
‘Touchscreens are the primary play activity now,’ he said.
Touchscreens take over: Researchers say the screen is now the most popular form of play in the US
He said the rise of the touchscreen has been incredible.
‘We’ve been tracking children for around 30 years.
‘I’ve never seen the world changing as fast as it is now. It took 30 years for TV to be accessible to everyone – this is the most rapid introduction of a technology we’ve witnessed.’
Researchers found that over 70% of children in all income levels are living in homes with smartphones, and over 55% with tablets.
Increasingly they also have their own device.
‘Of the kids who have access, 36% own their own device – and that was in single digits last year,’ said Cohen.
‘That figure will skyrocket.’
What children are doing on their touchscreen: Gaming is the most popular activity
The team looked at what the children were doing with their device.
‘These are children from birth to 12, we see game playing is the most frequent use, at over 60%.
‘There is learning, and that overlaps with games. But when we talk to children, gaming is the number one activity they want.’
The study also found watching videos, movies and communicating were popular – as well as utilities such as weather apps.
‘Primarily, as it should be, kids are using their touchscreens to play,’ said Cohen.
Touchscreens beat toys that have been around for decades, such as dolls and action figures, arts and crafts, and construction-based toys, all of which had a roughly 50 percent usage rate on the poll.
Gaming consoles had a usage rate of a bit less than 50 percent, with other children’s staples such as vehicles, puzzles, and board games landing closer to 40 percent.
The poll reveals that 10 percent of parents ‘always’ consider touch devices as playthings, while 58 percent considered them ‘sometimes’ toys.
The remaining 32 percent claimed that mobile devices should never be put in the same category as physical play products.