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The Nature Of How Kids Socialize With Friends And Siblings Changes With Age

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Port Washington, NY, March 14, 2011 - According to Kids Leisure Time 2011, the latest report from leading market research company The NPD Group, the nature of how kids socialize is changing, with person-to-person (aka, traditional) socialization decreasing as kids get older, being replaced by other forms of socialization such as social networks, cell phone usage and video chatting.

According to the report, kids ages 2-4 spent 17.5 hours per week spending actual face time with friends or siblings, with the average hours per week dropping off as kids get older (10.8 hours for ages 9-12).

New technology, activities and entertainment options are having a noticeable impact on how kids are spending their leisure time. While kids have the same number of hours to spend on leisure time (68 leisure hours in a typical week, which has remained constant since 2007), they have more activities in which to engage, requiring them to reprioritize how they spend their time, leading to shifts in the kids' leisure time landscape.

What one person might subjectively put into the category of entertainment, another might consider socializing. This is clearly illustrated by social network sites, which is of course built on the foundation of socializing, but is also popular as an entertainment activity. Similarly, in the world of gaming, online/multi-player games are a prime example of intersection between entertainment and socializing in that you are engaging in a form or entertainment while at the same time interacting and relationship building.

"A growing body of leisure time activities span both 'entertainment' and 'socializing,' with the lines between these two categories becoming blurred," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "Arguably, an activity like talking on the phone with a friend has always had an intrinsic entertainment value, but this has become even more pronounced in light of the many new ways in which one can now communicate. For marketers, this translates into more ways to reach kids from both a product/content standpoint as well as marketing/messaging."

The Impact on More Traditional forms of Leisure Time Activities
There seems to be minimal impact of these ever-expanding entertainment and device options on kids' interaction with toys. Participation rates, share of time and weekly hours spent each tell the same story: toys are a stable foundation in kids' leisure time landscape. Unlike movies, kids are still as actively engaged with toys as they were in the past few years. In fact, they may even be spending slightly more hours per week with toys than they did in 2009.

"While some of these newer ways to spend their free time are quite alluring to kids, toys hold a unique place in kids' lives," said Frazier. "Toy manufacturers should embrace and expand upon what makes traditional toys special to both kids and adults."

Methodology
This study was fielded to a nationally representative sample of moms with children ages 2 to 12 living in the household. The final survey data is weighted to represent the population of individuals (i.e., kids) ages 2 to 12. This study (released Feb-11) is based on 1,994 completed surveys and was fielded from December 2-22, 2010.

 

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David Riley
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