Kids are playing with tablets and smartphones more than traditional toys, survey says

Saqib Shah
March 4, 2014

It seems that with all the apps and games aimed at children these days, kids are accustomed to growing up around electronic devices.

According to a new survey, however, the trend is leading to mobile tech replacing traditional toys in the lives of toddlers.

Media research firm The Michael Cohen Group (MCG) released the results of its recent US survey, which polled 350 parents about the play habits of their children 12 and younger.

Touchscreen devices got the most overall playtime according to the poll, with more than 60 percent of parents claiming that their child uses a touchscreen “often” and roughly 38 percent claiming “very often.”

Touchscreens beat out traditional kids toys, such as dolls and action figures, arts and crafts, and construction-based toys, all of which had a roughly 50 percent usage rate on the poll.

Gaming consoles had a usage rate of a bit less than 50 percent, with other children’s staples such as vehicles, puzzles, and board games landing closer to 40 percent.

Is this new trend – along with the user-friendly nature of these devices, which makes them easy for both kids and adults to grasp – changing attitudes towards the products themselves?

The poll reveals that a number of adults are now beginning to view the devices as toys, alongside their intended use.

According to MCG, 10 percent of parents “always” consider touch devices as playthings, while 58 percent considered them “sometimes” toys.

The remaining 32 percent claimed that mobile devices should never be put in the same category as physical play products.

The debate concerning the nature of traditional toys versus touch screens is ongoing. However, just make sure you have the right restrictions in place on your phone and tablet before you hand it to your child to play with.


About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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