updated 10:10 am EST, Thu February 16, 2012
Nielsen shows tablets often used by chidlren
Nielsen in a fresh study showed that 70 percent of US families with tablets let their kids use at least one of the devices. The use, which applied to every child under 12 this fall, was a nine-point hike from just this past summer. Among those who had at least one tablet, games were by far the most common activity, with 77 percent of their children using games they'd downloaded through an online store.
At 57 and 55 percent, learning and entertainment while traveling were the next-closest uses. A similar parity came for entertainment while at a restaurant or another event, at 41 percent, which was nearly as popular as general video viewing, at 43 percent.
Only 15 percent of tablet-using kids in these families used them to chat with friends or families. Researchers didn't explain the gap, although it's likely that their much smaller and frequently very local social circles reduce the desire and need for chatting online.
No breakdown was given as to which tablet platforms the under-12 audience was using, although the much larger market share and selection of games on the iPad makes it likely to represent the majority. Some of the upswing in the fall might have come from the Amazon Kindle Fire: its $199 price and Amazon's attention to getting major Android games optimized for the seven-inch screen may help for parents that want a less expensive tablet just for kids but still want a familiar experience.