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Children play with smartphones and tablets nearly five hours a week

Games are the most downloaded apps

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Children spend approximately five days a week using mobile devices such as a smartphone, tablet or iPod Touch, with an average session generally lasting just under one hour, according to Kids and Apps: A New Era of Play, a report by The NPD Group.

According to this research, there are an average of 12 apps on mobile devices that kids have access to, with 88% of those apps being acquired for free. With an average of 6.5 gaming applications on a device, gaming is by far the most popular type of app used by children, followed by listening to or downloading music, and taking pictures.

Gender also plays a role in app usage, with boys being significantly more likely to be game players than girls (87% vs.  80%), while girls are more diversified in the apps they use on a device and are likely to have more types of apps than boys.

Educational apps help to decide purchase

While gaming applications are the apps most frequently paid for (35%) followed closely by educational game and movie apps, most of the apps downloaded to devices are free.  Even those apps that are purchased are relatively inexpensive.

When it comes to allowing their child to use a device, those who don’t own but are planning to purchase a device are more likely to be influenced to do so by a number of factors. Aside from free games, those planning to purchase say they would be influenced by unlimited data from their carrier and the availability of more educational apps.

Those who already own a device but don’t let their child use it would allow their child to do so if more educational apps were available or if the devices were durable enough to withstand the child’s use.

“The wide variety and sheer volume of free entertainment content available for app devices is clearly having an impact on kids and the way they play,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “While there are a number of engaging and entertaining apps available to kids, many are used and abandoned after a short time, so it’s important to get a clear, factual picture of the role that apps are playing in kids’ lives.”

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