It seems as if just about everyone has some type of mobile device these days – even young kids. According to a recent study, nearly 20% of 3rd graders have their own cell phones. The study, which was conducted by Stephanie Englander of Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, showed that 20% of boys and 18% of girls in the third grade are packing these devices. Originally conducted in 2011, the study surveyed 20,766 children and interestingly, revealed that more than 90% of them are online by third grade.
The research effort is another indication of what a potentially valuable target market lies in today’s tech savvy children. Despite that potential, there is much businesses need to know about marketing products and services to this age group.
Laws are Getting Stricter
In 2011, representatives Joe Barton and Ed Markey introduced the Do Not Track Kids Act, a proposed law designed to protect children from questionable online marketing practices. While the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act or COPPA, has been around since 1998, it is terribly outdated in today’s mobile device-driven internet world.
- The proposed legislation aims to go beyond the current law by preventing businesses from sharing the personal data of children under 18 with third-parties looking to use the information for targeted marketing.
- Businesses cannot afford to overlook existing laws nor upcoming legislation when targeting kids.
Parents Have the Final Say
We all know that many products are both specifically designed and marketed with kids in mind. Thanks to the information recently revealed in the study, we now know that a direct line is being built to this fast growing segment. With that said, businesses must keep in mind that it is ultimately the parents of these children they must appeal to.
- Very few, if any third graders are making purchases beyond snacks at the party store, so crafting your marketing message for kids entirely could be a huge mistake.
- Making parents see why they should invest in your product or solution for their kid should be your focus.
It Gets Greater Later
According to Englander’s research, kids are getting more tech savvy as they age.
- The study showed that 39% of fifth graders have mobile phones,
- and by middle school, 83% have them.
- Additionally, it highlighted that roughly 90% of children are using their mobile devices for texting and internet access by the time they get to middle school.
Businesses who are able to reach this audience early could potentially convert long-time customers. What do you think?