Kids Are Mad for Tablets

Unlike computers and TVs, tablets embody the antithesis of the “look but don’t touch” rule. So it’s no wonder that kids are crazy about them.

Nielsen released research today showing that, in U.S. households owning a tablet, seven out of 10 children under the age of 12 use the device — and that number is going up. Nielsen’s report cites data from the fourth quarter of 2011, which was up 9 percent from the previous quarter.

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App developers have already recognized the appeal and begun to create content for the under-12 crowd. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has created kiddie content for its Kindles, and as of January, more than 20,000 educational apps were available in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store for those 1.5 million iPads being used in schools.

But the educational content is not what’s making tablets so popular with kids. Nielsen says 77 percent of children prefer playing games like “Angry Birds.” Only 55 percent of kids were found to have used educational apps.

Tablets have become the 21st Century’s version of everything from crayons to Gameboys: 55 percent of parents say their kids use their tablets on the road and 41 percent use them in restaurants.

Nielsen also notes that most of children’s tablet time is about entertainment. Only 15 percent of kids use them for communicating with friends and family.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Lindsey Grossman at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at