Children Flocking to TikTok and AI Chatbots, Ditching YouTube

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It’s no surprise that YouTube decided to launch shorts. According to a recent study on children’s online habits, it was discovered that kids between the ages of 4 and 18 spent an average of 112 minutes per day on the popular short video app TikTok in 2023. This is a slight increase from the previous year’s average of 107 minutes. Although YouTube continues to be the leading streaming app for this particular group, kids have dedicated 60% more time to TikTok in the past year. The data from a recent study on children’s digital media also explored their usage of emerging technologies, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Qustodio, a company that specializes in parental control software, conducted the study based on the usage of digital media by over 400,000 families and schools worldwide. The company’s annual report provides an overview of children’s digital habits and their utilization of technology on mobile and desktop devices. The report also delves into specific markets such as the US, UK, Spain, Australia, and France. What sets their data set apart is that it is derived from the actual technology usage of children, rather than relying on responses from a panel of experts. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that the data might not provide a complete picture of children’s digital media habits. This is because the data only includes homes and schools that utilize parental control software.

However, there is a significant amount of data to analyze, which uncovers certain patterns that shed light on how children of different age groups interact with technology. This year, the company took a closer look at how children are engaging with new technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

Due to the delayed availability of OpenAI’s ChatGPT on iOS and Android, Qustodio made the decision to exclusively utilize the OpenAI website. On a global scale, it was discovered that approximately 20% of children visited the site in the previous year, ranking it as the 18th most popular site of the year. Approximately 18.7% of children in the United States visited the site, which placed it in a respectable 32nd position overall. In 2023, Australia had the highest adoption rate, with 24% of children visiting the site.

In the realm of streaming, children have increased their viewing time on streaming services by 27% compared to last year. However, it is worth noting that the recent price hikes on certain services might have had an impact on their viewership numbers. According to the firm’s findings, there was a decrease of 4% in the amount of time children spent watching Netflix in 2023. Additionally, there was a 23% decrease in the time spent on Disney+ and a 12% decrease in the time spent on Hulu. In the meantime, YouTube and its sister app, YouTube Kids, achieved impressive milestones. Watch time for YouTube Kids saw a significant 14% increase worldwide, with users spending an average of 96 minutes per day on the app. In 2019, Qustodio recorded its highest figure of 70 minutes, which is an increase from 67 minutes the previous year.

In 2023, despite implementing price increases and stricter password policies, Netflix maintained its position as the second-most popular streaming platform among children, with 40% of them utilizing the service. YouTube was the most popular choice among kids, with a whopping 63% of them using it. On the other hand, Disney+ secured the third spot with a respectable 20%. Netflix was the sole paid service that experienced a surge in popularity compared to the previous year. On the other hand, other streaming platforms such as Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and even the live streaming service Twitch witnessed a decline in their shares, with Twitch experiencing an 11% drop. The usage of the service is projected to decrease from 2022 to 2023 by just 8%. Viewers on Twitch have shown a significant increase in their viewing hours this year. They have been spending an average of 22 minutes per day watching live streams, which is a 16% increase compared to previous years.

In 2023, children’s use of social media apps remained as popular as ever, despite the concerns raised by parents and policymakers. Whether this is a positive or negative trend is open to interpretation.

TikTok remained the top app globally, with 44% of children using it, while Facebook secured the second spot with a 38% market share.

Elon Musk’s percentage has increased from 30% in 2022. (However, it appears that parents have also noticed the changes in X, causing it to be ranked as the third most blocked service worldwide, after TikTok and Instagram.)

Reddit, Instagram, and Pinterest are among the most popular social applications globally, with usage rates of 32%, 32%, and 31%, respectively.

According to recent data, the most popular apps in the US include TikTok, X, Reddit, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

However, TikTok stands out as the most time-consuming platform, with users spending an average of 112 minutes per day globally. In comparison, Instagram users spend 63 minutes, Facebook users spend 19 minutes, Pinterest users spend 16 minutes, X users spend 10 minutes, and Reddit users spend 9 minutes.

On a related note, Meta’s WhatsApp continues to hold the top spot as the most popular messaging app globally. Overtaking Snapchat (35%), Discord (31%), Messages (28%), Skype (21%), and Google Duo (13%), 37% of children use it. Surprisingly, Snapchat emerged as the clear winner among kids, with an average usage of 74 minutes per day. In comparison, Discord, its closest competitor, lagged behind with just 27 minutes per day. If it had been categorized as a social app rather than a communication app, it would have easily secured the third spot in terms of time spent.

Roblox emerged as the top choice among gaming apps, capturing the attention of 48% of children worldwide. On average, kids spent around 130 minutes per day engrossed in this virtual world. Minecraft, Among Us, Clash Royale, Stumble Guys, and Magic Tiles 3 also garnered significant popularity among young gamers.

Children continued to use well-known learning apps last year, including those that their schools provided, like Google Classroom, as well as well-known educational apps like Duolingo, Photomath, Kahoot!, Quizlet, Simply Piano, and Brainly.

Aside from exploring market trends, the comprehensive report also covers strategies for parents to effectively manage and monitor their children’s technology usage, as well as insights into future developments. Quostido issued a warning to parents regarding the rapid growth of artificial intelligence tools, projected to increase by nearly 40% annually from 2023 to 2030. Interestingly, among children aged 10 to 13, only a small 6% reported being active users of these technologies.

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