Almost nine out of ten 12-year-olds are regularly using social media – despite the legal age to sign up to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram being 13, according to research by market intelligence specialist, Kids Insights.
The data, from Kids Insights’ 2018 Q1 report, also shows that almost half of 12-year-old girls use Instagram – a figure that’s risen from just 31 per cent in late 2017 – 42 per cent use Snapchat and 29 per cent regularly sign into Facebook.
When it comes to boys, Facebook is the most popular, with 43 per cent of 12-year-olds admitting to using the platform. Four out of ten said they use Instagram and almost one third (30%) use Snapchat.
The research also showed that on average, a child gets a mobile phone at the age of 11 – and of those who own a phone, more than half (54%) have an iPhone.
Tablets are increasingly popular, it seems, with the younger generation too, with the study discovering that three out of every four 4-6 year olds owns one, compared to two thirds last year. And while tablet ownership for 4 to 6-year-olds has increased in 2018, hours spent watching TV have dropped by 7 per cent.
Kids Insights’ lead future analyst Nick Richardson said: “As the data clearly demonstrates, kids’ ecosystems continue to become more complex, fragmented and dynamic – especially as connected technology continues to become more prevalent in the off line world.
“And with children owning more devices than ever before from a young age, as well as using social media, chat sites and apps from an earlier age, brands are facing a huge challenge to keep up.”
The Q1 report also found that one in ten children are now using voice controlled technology, such as Amazon Alexa devices, to listen to music or consume news.
“We are seeing a change in how kids engage with technology – generation type, became generation swipe, which is now becoming generation chat, with one in 10 of all kids using Alexa in their home,” Nick added.
“There is a serious point here for brands, because those brands that fail to understand what kids want and need when it comes to designing products for them could find that they really struggle.
“On the other hand, those brands which are enjoying success are those which are extremely responsive to the constantly developing picture. That’s why data like this is so important for brands to help them understand the picture and which trends are coming and going.
“As we highlighted in our future forecast report, which provided a big picture view taking into account the views and answers from 20,000 children, there is a need and an opportunity for tech brands – in particular social media – to develop child friendly platforms which are suitable and appealing to tweens and early teens.”