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Some 65% of Gen Z consumers report regular use of a tablet, according to a YouGov survey of almost 600 respondents ages 8-17. The results suggest that children ages 8-11 are the most frequent users (74% regularly using tablets), with regular usage tapering off among older kids.

Interestingly, most tablets belong to the kids rather than the family, according to the study, with this true across demographic cuts. Furthermore, the survey indicates that about half of kids have no restrictions at all on their tablet use – though the extent to which they do varies significantly by age. Only 28% of frequent users ages 8-11 have free rein, compared to 79% of regular users ages 15-17.

But that doesn’t mean that they’re only using tablets: in fact, kids are twice as likely to say they’d prefer to read a physical book (47%) than to read on their tablet (21%).

Reading isn’t a top activity on tablets, though. Overall, among those who identify as regular users of tablets, the activities they mainly use the devices for are:

  • Playing games (77%);
  • Watching videos (74%);
  • Listening to music (56%);
  • Messaging/emailing friends and family (45%); and
  • Taking pictures (43%).

Slightly fewer than 4 in 10 say they mainly use their tablet to read books.

These leading activities differ by age, though. For example, while playing games is the leading activity among 8-11-year-olds (80%), watching videos takes slight precedence among the 12-14 (80%) and 15-17 (71%) age groups. It seems that tablets may be taking away from TV time, as children are increasingly growing up with mobile devices rather than TV screens.

Meanwhile, taking pictures and learning via educational apps are more popular activities among regular users ages 8-11 than among older children.

By contrast, there are some activities that appeal more to older kids – and they pertain mostly to communication.

For example, roughly half or more 12-17-year-old regular tablet users message friends and family on the devices, compared to about one-third of 8-11-year-olds. Additionally, more than one-third of the 12-14 (35%) and 15-17 (36%) age brackets use video chat on their tablets, compared to about one-fifth of the 8-11 group.

Finally, at least half or more regular tablet users ages 12-17 go on social media, versus one-quarter of kids ages 8-11.

The full list of activities by age group can be seen in the chart above, and the complete survey results are available here [pdf].

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 593 children ages 8-17, of whom 387 use a tablet regularly.

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