Parents have long relied on screens of different shapes and sizes to help keep their kids occupied, entertained, and sometimes even educated. However, the way kids use screens is constantly changing, and content creators should be aware of where their audience’s attention is directed.
A new report from Qustodio (available as a pdf here) provides compelling evidence that kids today spend more time gaming, surfing social media sites, and watching free streaming platforms than they do on paid streamers like Netflix, Disney+, or Prime Video.
Data used in the study was collected from more than 400,000 families with children between the ages of 4 and 18 from around the world. It tracked which platforms were the most popular with kids in 2023 and the amount of time youngsters spent using them. It’s worth noting that the study tracked in-app use for many of the platforms, meaning that other ways of accessing them, like through a web browser, are not represented in the final data. That said, the report still provides a us with a good idea of how kids are spending their screen time.
According to the report, kids worldwide spent 27% more time streaming in 2023 than in 2022. Globally, kids spent an average of 57 minutes/day streaming content, and in the U.S., the figure hit 64 minutes/day.
Worldwide, and in every region analyzed by the study, Youtube was the most popular streaming service. According to the report, 63% of kids used Youtube in each of the last two years. Both Youtube and Youtube Kids saw increases in the amount of time kids spent using them in 2023. Youtube Kids jumped from 84 min/day to 96 (the most of any tracked platform), and Youtube jumped from 67 min/day to 70.
Things weren’t so good for pay platforms. In fact, Netflix was the only paid service that increased in popularity from 2022 to 2023, with Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+ all seeing dips.
Although Netflix grew in popularity last year, users spent less time on the app. In 2022, kids spent 48 min/day watching Netflix, but only 46 min/day last year. The other paid platforms saw more significant drops, which are tracked in the chart below.
Despite dropping in popularity and time spent in 2023, Roblox was still the king of the hill in kids’ gaming. Last year, 48% of children played the game for an average of 130 minutes/day. Two hours a day may seem like a lot, but it was a huge drop from the previous two years when kids averaged nearly three hours/day playing the game.
Roblox wasn’t the only game that dipped in 2023. All six games tracked by the study saw a decrease in the amount of time kids spent playing them. Most also saw drops in popularity and the ones that didn’t saw only negligible gains. That said, games like Roblox and Minecraft still rank miles ahead of streaming when it comes to eating up kids’ free time.
Social Media Trends
Tiktok has been and continues to be the most popular social media platform for kids. In 2023, 44% of kids spent an average of 112 minutes on the app. No other platform came close in terms of minutes per day. The number of kids using Tiktok has stayed relatively consistent year-on-year, while the amount of time they spend on the platform has increased.
Pictured at top: Ralph Breaks the Internet