A new survey by Nielsen Online highlights the importance of leveraging the online platform for marketing to children. According to Nielsen’s figures, the number of kids online has increased 18% in the past five years, while the total online population grew only 10% in that period. In May 2009, the number of children between the ages of two and 11 that logged onto the Internet reached 16 million, or 9.5% of the active online population at-large. The growth of kids online has even outpaced the overall population growth of children in the U.S., where kids under the age of 14 are projected to decrease one percent between 2004 and 2010, according to a U.S. Census Bureau statistic cited by Nielsen.
The amount of time spent online also increased in the last five years. In May 2004, the average time spent online was seven hours; in May 2009, that figure jumped 63% to more than 11 hours. Among the total Internet population, online time grew only 36% in the same period.
The rapid growth has been split almost evenly between boys and girls, but Nielsen Online found that each gender uses the Internet differently. On average, boys spent seven percent more time online than girls, yet girls viewed nine percent more web pages than boys in May 2009. Online video viewership was nearly equal, with 5.1 million boys and 5.2 million girls watching online videos in May. However, boys led girls in the number of video streams consumed (61%) and time spent watching videos (57%).