Nielsen: Kids Flock to Web

NEW YORK Nielsen Online has confirmed something that most parents know all too well: kids are going online in droves — at a faster rate than the general Web population — and are spending more entertainment time with digital media.

Over the past five years, the kids’ Web universe has swelled by 18 percent, compared to a 10 percent growth rate seen in the relatively mature general Web population, per Nielsen. As of May, the kids 2-11 audience had reached 16 million, or 9.5 percent of the active online universe.

That growth spurt is particularly noteworthy since it has taken place during a period in which the number of kids under 14 in the U.S. declined by 1 percent — from July 2004 to July 2009, per the U.S. Census Bureau.

But even more impressive is this group’s heavy surge in usage when compared to the rest of the Web. Kids are all but living online. Time spent among kids has soared by 63 percent over the past five years, while overall time spent across all age groups is up 36 percent, per Nielsen.

According to Nielsen, kids 2-11 spent nearly seven hours online per month five years ago vs. 11 hours a month in 2009, with boys spending slightly more time on average than girls. That disparity is perhaps most evident in online video viewing, as boys accounted for 61 percent of video streams among kids on the Web.

However, the kids’ online video landscape — once dominated by TV players Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney — is changing, as options for kids and digital media buyers abound.

Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.

Nielsen Business Media