NPD: Parents downloading more mobile apps, games for their kids


Children spend approximately five days a week accessing mobile apps and games on their parents' smartphones and tablets, with the average session lasting just under an hour, according to a new report from market research firm NPD Group.

Kids have access to an average of 12 apps per device, NPD states. Games dominate with an average of 6.5 apps, followed by music and photo-sharing services. Eighty-seven percent of boys with access to mobile devices play games, compared to 80 percent of girls. NPD adds that girls are more likely to access different categories of apps.

Most apps downloaded for children are free. Premium titles make up 35 percent of games downloaded for kids, representing more paid apps than any other category--however, NPD reports that all paid apps for kids are relatively inexpensive, regardless of category. 

"The wide variety and sheer volume of free entertainment content available for app devices is clearly having an impact on kids and the way they play," said Anita Frazier, NPD Group industry analyst. "While there are a number of engaging and entertaining apps available to kids, many are used and abandoned after a short time, so it's important to get a clear, factual picture of the role that apps are playing in kids' lives."

Parents who are planning to buy a mobile device and give their kids access to apps and games said they are likely to be influenced by a number of factors including unlimited data plans and the availability of more educational apps. Parents who already own a smartphone or tablet but don't allow their children to use it said they would change their minds if more educational apps were available and if manufacturers designed devices durable enough to withstand the child's use.

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