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If you’re a marketer trying to target and engage the younger generation it looks like interactive mobile and tablet apps are the way to go, as Australian children are using apps more than game consoles these days, with figures doubling in the past 18 months. 

The latest 2013 Cartoon Network survey, which looked at the media habits of 1800 children, has revealed that almost 7 in 10 children between the ages of four and 14 now use apps, which is two times the figure from the 2011 survey. 

Of those children who use apps, most are accessing an average of 7 per month and they are doing so on their smartphones and tablets, as well as borrowing from their parents and siblings.

Tablets also accounted for a large amount of internet traffic, with 30% of Australian children using them to access the internet, and 1 in 3 parents admitted to spending more than $10 on apps in the month prior to the survey. 

Senior manager of strategic research for Turner Broadcasting System Asia-Pacific, Peter Hammer, said that today’s children are redefining the media landscape and giving more power to advertisers.

Apps have redefined the way parents are entertaining their kids. The rapid explosion of smart devices, within just a few short years, has quickly changed the way kids are accessing the internet and playing games.

Another interesting finding from the study was that the main pastime for children on the internet is now gaming and video watching, as opposed to social networking.

The result of this is that the use of game consoles has dropped 32% since 2011, with kids instead preferring app-enabled devices like the iPad and iPod Touch. 

But despite the increased popularity of apps, television is still going strong and Hammer says the study proves that it remains the strongest advertising medium in the market.

In the survey, 3 out of 4 parents said they had watched television with their children in the past week and 6 out of 7 said it was the best way for them to learn what their children want.

Television advertising was also voted as the best way for both adults and children to learn about new toys, games, movies and technology.

The survey also revealed that Australian children have control of around $1.6 billion through their pocket money.

Now given that these children are spending 55% of their spare time in front of a screen, there is a lot of potential for marketers o take advantage of, and it is this reason why Hammer believes that marketers should be focusing more attention on this age group. 

When you look at the $1.6 billion in spending power, kids are a force to be reckoned with, and yet, as a market, are often neglected. Our research shows that kids have great influence over their parents spending as well. 

[Image credit: flickingerbrad]

Claire Brinkley

Published 28 April, 2013 by Claire Brinkley

Claire Brinkley is Econsultancy Australia's news and insight reporter. Follow her on Twitter, Google+ or connect with her on LinkedIn

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