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50pc of kids have social media accounts by age 12: report

Smartphone use is growing among kids, driving how they access the Internet and use social media while underscoring the importance of mobile marketing for reaching this generation of consumers as they get older, according to a new report from Influence Central. 

The report, Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today?s Digital Natives, reveals how kids are getting their own devices at a younger age and have more freedom in how they use them. A key finding is that 38 percent of kids today access the Internet via their phone, up from 19 percent in 2012.

?Mobile marketing will be key with this new generation, as mobile devices have become woven into the very fabric of their daily lives,? said Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central

?Kids carry their phones seemingly everywhere, and use them to access social media,? she said. 

?Capturing kids attention within this blurring of the lines between mobile and social will be the new frontier of marketing.? 

Influence Central?s 2016 study updates a 2012 digital usage study and is based on a survey of 500 women. 

Smartphone savvy
The average age when children get their first phone is 10.3 years old.

Social media is also popular with kids, with 11 percent getting their first account when they were younger than 10 while 39 percent did so between the ages of 10 and 12. 

Facebook and Instagram are most popular, each used by 77 percent of kids. Twitter is embraced by 49 percent of kids and Snapchat by 47 percent. 

One popular activity for kids on phones is texting, with 31 percent of parents saying that their kids have texted them even when they are in the same home together. 

In-car entertainment
Tablets and smartphones have replaced DVDs when it comes to where kids look for entertainment while in a car. 

Tablet use has taken off, with 55 percent of kids saying they use a tablet for entertainment while in a car, up from 26 percent. 

Phones come in at 45 percent, up from 39 percent. 

DVDs have fallen to third place in the car, with 35 percent of kids using them, down from 48 percent. 

The Nintendo DS comes in fourth place at 24 percent, down from 40 percent four years ago. 

Limiting use
The report found that parents have loosed their grip on kids? electronic use, with 41 percent imposing strict limits on where and when kids use technology/electronics, down from 49 percent. Those who impose ?some? limits increased from 44 percent to 50 percent. 

However, more parents ? 27 percent today versus 23 percent four years ago ? are using online programs to control and filter sites or platforms. 

Kids also experience more privacy when accessing the Internet. In 2012, 85 percent accessed the Internet from a shared room but today that number has dropped to 76 percent. Additionally, 24 percent now have private access from their bedrooms, up from 15 percent. 

While the number of kids accessing the Internet from a smartphone is one of the biggest changes in the past four years, access is evolving in other ways, too. While 42 percent of kids accessed the Internet via their own laptop or tablet four years ago, today that number is 64 percent. At the same time, the number accessing the Internet via shared computer has dropped from 70 percent to 54 percent. 

Additionally, 26 percent access the Internet from a gaming console, up from 19 percent. 

The number of parents using a smartphone?s GPS capabilities to track down their kids has doubled since the last survey, from 7 percent in 2012 to 15 percent in 2016. 

Parents? restrictions on texting, social media platforms, apps and timing of use on their kids? phones increased from 14 percent to 34 percent. 

"Our research reveals the deep connections kids today have to mobile technology along with the profound impact that tech and social media has on them,? Ms. DeBroff said.   

?Our findings explain how readily and seamlessly this generation of kids flourishes around mobile and digital devices, and how kids now grow up immersed in social media,? she said.