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What Kids Want

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Children know their finance, girls are into gaming… Cartoon Network's New Generations 2011 study throws up interesting observations

The next time you see a child talking about insurance or mutual funds in an advertisement, don't dumb it down as someone's imagination at work. It could well be reality. This generation of kids is well informed about financial instruments and the world they inhabit, says a study conducted by television channel Cartoon Network.

The New Generations 2011 Study analyses the evolution of Indian children, including their behaviour, attitudes and preferences over the past decade. And, their findings, at least some of them, are an eye-opener. For instance, if you thought gaming was a boy-centric activity, the girls interviewed prove you wrong.

The study, which was presented at the FICCI Frames 2011 convention in Mumbai recently, surveyed 3,759 children in the seven to 14 age group and 1,121 parents of four to six-year-olds across 19 centres including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Nasik, Ahmedabad and Lucknow. The study was launched in India in 2001.

Connectivity has increased manifold too, and possibly driven awareness and social bonding. Seventy-nine per cent of children use mobile phones and 92 per cent of them have mobile phones at home — a decade ago, this figure was a paltry 17 per cent. The number of children with computers at home stands at 22 per cent. And, kids use the computer extensively to go online, either for research (45 per cent), social networking (19 per cent) or to play games (67 per cent). As for the girls, 68 per cent of them play games online compared to 66 per cent of boys.

While pocket money has increased by 201 per cent over the past decade, 55 per cent of kids save part of their pocket money, with girls beating the boys by a seven per cent margin.

And, if given Superhero powers, 38 per cent of kids in the seven to 14 age group want to eliminate poverty and hunger, followed by a wish to promote peace and stop violence. As for matinee idols, Shah Rukh Khan retains his place in kids' hearts for almost a decade now, while Katrina Kaif has managed to hold on to her top position since 2009. In sports, demi-god Sachin Tendulkar continues to be kids' favourite icon.

And, despite the rushed world we live in, a great number of parents make an attempt to spend time with their children, either playing with them or watching television.

Speaking about the study, Duncan Morris, vice-president, research and market development, Turner International Asia Pacific, says: “Some of the findings truly surprised us. For instance, in gaming. But, there were differences in that, while boys were more into multi-player and shooting darts, the girls were more into lifestyle gaming.”

As for kids' financial knowledge, he says “we don't give them enough credit. They are informed and have an opinion.” This generation of Indian kids, Duncan adds, are in an ‘I'volution, where the online space drives their attitudes and preferences. And while there's this big buzz about social networking, it comes into play more among teens (the 13 and 14 year olds), not younger kids, he says.

So, what's the one singular difference they found among Indian children versus those in countries such as Pakistan, Australia, Taiwan and the Philippines? “Their focus on academics. They watch a lot of television (95 per cent of children watch TV, and cartoon are an evergreen favourite!), and play games, but manage to strike a balance with their studies. This is so important.”

http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/metroplus/article1573844.ece
 

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