Port Washington, N.Y. — Children begin using consumer electronic devices at an average age of 6.7 years old, according to findings in The NPD group’s recently released “Kids and Consumer Electronics Trends III” report.
This number is down from the average age of 8.1 years found in the research firm’s similar 2005 study.
“[Children] appear to have no fear of technology and adopt it easily and without fanfare, making these devices a part of their everyday lives,” said Anita Frazier, an industry analyst with NPD.
NPD said the study measures device usage dynamics and trends to determine the penetration of consumer electronics in kids’ lives today and how this has changed since the group’s earlier studies on the topic in 2005 and 2006.
The group reported that the average age at which a child initially uses a product has shown a decline in virtually all categories since 2005. In this year’s survey, televisions and desktop computers were the CE devices shown to have the youngest initial exposure rates at about 4 or 5 years of age. Satellite radios and portable digital media players (PDMPs) showed the oldest initial exposure rates at about 9 years of age.
The report found that kids’ ownership of PDMPs, portable video games and digital cameras showed the most growth of the categories studied, even though it found that overall the average number of CE devices both owned and used by kids is down slightly compared to the year before. Cellphones and DVD players also showed increases in ownership.
In terms of purchases, cellphones, digital cameras and PDMPs were mentioned most as being bought in the past year.
When compared to their adult counterparts, NPD found that kids’ versions of all electronic products show “strong performance” and children are using kids’ versions at a younger age and more frequently. However, almost all adult versions of these products, save for video games, show higher penetration rates than do the children’s versions of the same products.
Though the level of interest in branded kids’ versions of electronics products is still present among the majority of parents surveyed, that level of interest has declined from 83 percent last year to 74 percent this year.
According to a release, NPD collected data for this report via an online national survey of adults ages 25 and older with children ages 4 to 14 in their household and whose children had used at least one of the CE devices measured in the study. The study was conducted from March 16 to March 22.