Oct 21 2014

Smartphones and Tablets Are King with Kids

A new survey finds 4- to 14-year-olds use them more than all other electronic devices.

More kids are putting down their video game handhelds for tablets and smartphones, according to a new survey.

Children ages 4 to 14 are using smartphones and tablets more than all other electronic devices, a recent report from The NPD Group indicates.

The report, Kids and CE: 2014, showed that the number of children in that age group who use smartphones has risen sharply. In 2012, respondents in 21 percent of homes with children surveyed said the child used a smartphone. In 2014, that number has jumped to 35 percent. For tablets, the figure more than doubled to 31 percent this year, up from 13 percent in 2012.

The growth has been attributed to competitive pricing of the devices, a factor that was particularly important for consumers who purchased smartphones and tablets from large retail chains, according to NPD. The devices' technology and features also are major factors.

“Technology devices are as much staples for American families as traditional toys, perhaps more so considering their ability to engage with almost any member of the family,” Juli Lennett, president of NPD Group's toys division, said in a news release.

The trend at home has led to changes at schools, as more districts are adopting bring-your-own-device policies. It’s also forcing IT leaders to rethink their network strategies and policies.

IT leaders at Prince George’s County Public Schools recently completed a massive network upgrade to support more than 65,000 mobile devices, making it one of the largest public-school networks in the country.

And at Waxahachie Independent School District in Texas, IT leaders found that students were bringing in more advanced devices from home than the district could afford to provide. So they developed a hybrid policy to support both BYOD and its one-to-one strategy, with some kids using their own devices and others using ones the district provides.

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