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57pc of children use tablets for educational apps: Nielsen

Tablets are proving to be an interactive learning tool for kids with tablet-owning families, with 57 percent of children using educational applications and 77 percent playing downloaded games, according to a new study from Nielsen Co.

Nielsen?s latest study surveyed tablet owners with children and found that kids are increasingly using them for both education and entertainment. In addition to how children interact with tablets, the research also found that the number of families that own a tablet as a resource is gowing.

Tuned-in tots
According to the Nielsen study, seven out of ten children under the age of 12 in a house with a tablet used them.

The study took place in the fourth quarter of 2011 and represents a nine percent growth quarter-to-quarter, showing the opportunity for marketers to develop mobile efforts that specifically target children.

The tablet has also become a go-to gadget to keep kids busy while on the go with parents.

Fifty-five percent of parents surveyed said that they had used the tablet as a way to keep their children entertained while traveling, showing how tablets also function as shared devices for families.

Similarly, 41 percent of parents in the survey have brought their tablets to restaurants for their kids.

The study is proof that tablets are being used as an in-between device between desktops and mobile phones.

Additionally, the bigger size of the tablet is better suited for a child than a mobile phone and is portable enough for parents to use as a quick fix to keep kids busy.

Forty-three percent of consumers in the study used the tablet to watch television and movies, pointing to the tablet?s greater bandwidth and image quality, which also makes it a hit with users.

Only 15 percent of tablet owners in the study used the devices as a way to communicate with friends and family, again showing how the main role of tablets is between a desktop and mobile phone.
 
Child?s play
Nielsen?s data on children and tablets makes it clear that marketers should be focusing marketing efforts on children.

Most recently, marketers have been transforming traditional toys and books into tablet products with the goal of increasing interaction with a brand.

For example, Lego used an iPad app to take its classic line of building blocks digital for children (see story).

Similarly, book publishers such as Random House have used mobile to transition their printed works into digital versions.

However, children require a slightly different form of thinking from a marketing perspective.

Functions such as click-to-call and tap-to-opt-in are examples of features that make great additions for mobile marketing initiatives geared at adults but do not make sense for children. Instead, it is best to keep marketing efforts simple and straightforward for kids.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York