PlayScience: Kids, Apps and Digital Media

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Alison Bryant and Paul Levine of children's digital research company PlayScience present their latest findings at Casual Connect in San Francisco on the kids digital space.

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CGACGA..Kid Appeal 2015An exploration of childrens favorite digital games, how they select them, and why they engage with themTOP PLAYFUL APPS FOR KIDS 6-14OVERALLFREQUENCY WITH WHICH CHILDREN PLAY THEIR FAVORITE APPThe majority of children play their favorite app at least a few times aweek,withalmosthalfplaying every day.DEVICE WITH WHICH CHILDREN PREFERTO PLAY THEIR FAVORITE APP NeitherBothSmartphoneTabletAlmost half of children playtheirfavoriteapp every day.Althoughthedeviceonwhich children choose to play their favorite gamedoesvarybydevice,most childrenoptforatabletovera smartphone. This trend may be due to the fact that children have greater accessto,andaremorelikelyto personallyown,tabletsversus smartphones.44%41%9%7%Every DayA few times a weekA few times a monthOnce a month13%17%25%45%TOP PLAYFUL APPS FOR KIDS 6-14OVERALL70%39%28%27%22%41%100 100 75 50 50 25 25 75Games that are fun Use with other people / Extra stuffActivities that help me learnPopular with my friendsCharacters I likeA lot of content so I dont get boredOneoftheleastin-demand features is an ability to use the app withotherpeople,whichmay explain why nearly 70% of children play their favorite app alone.The most important criteria when children are selecting their favorite app is, not surprisingly, fun. Almost three-quartersofchildrenlistedthisastheirtoprequirement,faraboveanyothercharacteristic. However,childrenalsoprioritizelikeablecharactersandawidevarietyofcontenttokeepthem entertainedandengaged.Oneoftheleastin-demandfeaturesisanabilitytousetheappwithother people, which may explain why nearly 70% of children play their favorite app alone.MOST IMPORTANT APP FEATURE, ACCORDING TO CHILDRENPERSON WITH WHOM CHILDREN PREFER TO PLAY FAVORITE APP69%ALONE22%WITH FRIENDS09%WITH PARENTSTOP PLAYFUL APPS FOR KIDS 6-14OVERALL70%39%28%27%22%41%100 100 75 50 50 25 25 75Games that are fun Use with other people / Extra stuffActivities that help me learnPopular with my friendsCharacters I likeA lot of content so I dont get boredOneoftheleastin-demand features is an ability to use the app withotherpeople,whichmay explain why nearly 70% of children play their favorite app alone.The most important criteria when children are selecting their favorite app is, not surprisingly, fun. Almost three-quartersofchildrenlistedthisastheirtoprequirement,faraboveanyothercharacteristic. However,childrenalsoprioritizelikeablecharactersandawidevarietyofcontenttokeepthem entertainedandengaged.Oneoftheleastin-demandfeaturesisanabilitytousetheappwithother people, which may explain why nearly 70% of children play their favorite app alone.MOST IMPORTANT APP FEATURE, ACCORDING TO CHILDRENPERSON WITH WHOM CHILDREN PREFER TO PLAY FAVORITE APP69%ALONE22%WITH FRIENDS09%WITH PARENTSTOP PLAYFUL APPS FOR KIDS 6-14GENDER DIFFERENCESGIRLS choices for favorite apps largely mirror the overall list, but the ranking of each app is slightly varied. The top app among girls is Candy Crush Saga, regardless of the device that they are using. This app is followed by Angry Birds, pushing Minecraft down to the third position. Girls top apps also include Subway Surfers, WATCH Disney Channel, Temple Run 2, and Trivia Crack. The majority play by themselves.11.3% Candy Crush Saga9.8% Angry Birds8.5% Minecraft6.1% ABCmouse.com5.6% Candy Crush Soda SagaGirls FavoriteAppsCANDY CRUSH SAGA11.3% 5.6%MINECRAFT8.5% 16.3%ABCMOUSE.COM6.1% 3.0%CLASH OF CLANS0.7% 6.4%Boys list of favorite apps also includes Clash of Clans, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Bible for Kids, Boom Beach, and Despicable Me: Minion Rush.BOYS choices for favorite apps are topped by Minecraft and Angry Birds. It seems that boys may have a favorite app depending which device they are using, since tablets are the preferred platform for Minecraft, and smartphones are top choice for Angry Birds. Boys top apps also include Clash of Clans, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Bible for Kids, Boom Beach, and Despicable Me: Minion Rush. As with girls, the majority of boys still primarily play their favorite app by themselves.16.3% Minecraft10.3% Angry Birds6.2% Clash of Clans5.6% Candy Crush Saga4.2% Angry Birds Star WarsBoys FavoriteAppsGirls list of favorite apps also includes Subway Surfers, WATCH Disney Channel, Temple Run 2, and Trivia Crack.TOP PLAYFUL APPS FOR KIDS 6-14GENDER DIFFERENCESThe main reason that both girls and boys provided for their selection of their favorite app is that theyarereallygoodatit.Bothgendersalsoenjoygamesthatareexciting,challenging,involve characters that they like, and allow them to use their imagination. Girls are 30% more likely than boys to prefer apps because they make them laugh. Not surprisingly then, girls are also slightly more likely than boys to point to fun as an important app feature, though they are also more likely to value apps that help them learn.For girls, characters are key. Not only do girls listlikeablecharactersasoneofthetop reasonsbehindtheirfavoriteappandthe second most important feature of an app in general but, when asked to design their own playfulgame,girlsprioritizecuteandfun characters as well as characters they know or avatars they can create. In fact, it is twice as important for girls than for boys to have enjoyablecharactersaspartoftheir gaming experience.Im really good at it 45%Its challenging 38%It has characters I like 30%It makes me laugh 28%I learn things 25%Its for children my age 22%It lets me show off what I can do 21%It helps me stay connected with my friends 11%32%GIRLSthinklearningactivitiesare an important app feature.For boys, in comparison, app preference is allaboutthegameplayitself.Boysalso identify fun as the most important feature inanappand,whenaskedtodesigntheir own playful game, boys are much more likely thangirlstorequirethattheappinclude actiongames.Similarly,theyarelesslikely than girls to want this app to have puzzles, story creation, or ideas for offline activities, suggestingthatboysmayhaveamore narrowconceptionofwhatconstitutesa successful gaming app.43%BOYSwouldrequireactiongamesin an app they designed themselves.MOST IMPORTANT APP FEATURESMUST-HAVE FEATURES FOR PERSONALLY DESIGNED APP75% 66% Games that are funA lot of content so I dont get bored38% 39%Activites that help me learn22% 32%Extra stuff like videos and music19% 24%I can use the app with other people20% 23%Popular with my friends27% 30%Characters I like 41% 42%Ability to create your own avatar 42% 44%Characters you know 24% 39%Ability to create your own story 34% 11%Puzzles 32% 21%Ideas for activities to do ofine 20% 15%Quizzes 16% 11%Levels that keep getting harder 37% 36%Action games 43% 26%REASONS FOR CHILDRENS SELECTIONS OF FAVORITE APPS86%41%38%28%22%21%16%18%9%TOP PLAYFUL APPS FOR KIDS 6-14AGE DIFFERENCESAswiththeoverallfavoriteapps,bothMinecraftandAngryBirdstoppedthelistfor6-to 11-year-oldchildren.However,6-to8-year-oldsalsoincludedBibleforKidsandFrozen: StorybookDeluxeontheirlistoffavorites,while9-to11-year-oldsincludedCrossyRoadand Fruit Ninja.Unlike these two younger age groups, Candy Crush Saga topped the list for 12- to 14-year-olds favorite apps. Their list also included Clash of Clans, Trivia Crack, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Big Hero 6: Baymax Blast.12.0% Minecraft10.3% Angry Birds9.8% ABCmouse.com6.1% Candy Crush Saga3.9% Angry Birds Star Wars14.0% Minecraft10.1% Angry Birds7.4% Candy Crush Saga4.7% Candy Crush Soda Saga3.1% Crossy Road12.6% Candy Crush Saga10.3% Minecraft9.7% Angry Birds7.9% Clash of Clans3.9% Candy Crush Soda Saga / Trivia CrackCHILDRENS FAVORITE APPS, BY AGE6- TO 9-YEAR-OLDSTABLETS LAPTOPCHILDRENSTABLETDESKTOPCONSOLESMARTPHONE9- TO 11-YEAR-OLDS 12- TO 14-YEAR-OLDSCHILDRENS PREFERRED DEVICE FOR PLAYING GAMES, BY AGE41%16%12%32%21%17%25%28%17%9%9%6%10%3%9%14%1%10%6 to 8 9 to 11 12 to 14It seems that children of all ages may have a favorite appdependingwhichdevicetheyareusing,since tabletsarethepreferredplatformforMinecraft, andsmartphonesaretopchoiceforAngryBirds andCandyCrushSaga.Overall,however,younger children prefer to play games on a tablet, while older childrenincreasinglyusevideogameconsoles.The fact that young children are 64% more likely to play a game on a tablet compared to a teen may be due tothefactthatthisyoungeragegrouphasmuch greateraccesstothesedevicesthantheydoto other gaming platforms.Childrenages6to8are64%more likelytoplayagameonatablet compared to a teen.64%TOP PLAYFUL APPS FOR KIDS 6-14AGE DIFFERENCES23% 25% 39%IT HAS CHARACTERS I LIKE45%ITS CHALLENGINGIT MAKES ME LAUGHI LEARN NEW THINGS6 to 8 9 to 11 12 to 1438% 33%20%20%25%22% 26%ITS FOR MY CHILDREN MY AGE16% 19% 21%I CAN PLAY TOGETHER WITH OTHER KIDS20% 17% 14%I CAN COMPETE AGAINST OTHER KIDSIT HELPS ME STAY CONNECTED TO MY FRIENDS19% 12%10% 13%9%7%30%REASONS FOR SELECTION OF FAVORITE APPSThe main reason that children ages6to11providefortheir selection of their favorite app is that they are really good at it,whilechildrenages9to14 putmorevalueonagame thatchallengesthem.They are more likely to require that an app that they design have points,rewards,andlevels that get increasingly harder.6 to 8 9 to 11 12 to 1473%15%12%7%29%64%70%22%9%WHO CHILDREN PLAY GAMES WITHALONE WITH FRIENDS WITH PARENTSYoung childrens focus on a character-driven gaming experience may help to explain why they are less interested in a social component to gaming. Not only are younger children the most likely age group to report playing their favorite game by themselves, but they also rank features such as an ability to use an app with other people or communicate with other players in the app much lower thandoolderchildren.Itseemsthat6-to8-year-oldsarelookingforagamethatis self-contained,tablet-friendly,andcentersonfunandentertainingcharacters,while9-to 14-year-olds would prefer a gaming experience that is challenging, reward-driven, and potentially includes the opportunity to play with others.TOP PLAYFUL APPS FOR KIDS 6-14AGE DIFFERENCES23% 25% 39%IT HAS CHARACTERS I LIKE45%ITS CHALLENGINGIT MAKES ME LAUGHI LE