Network is out with the seventh edition of New Generations, India's largest children's lifestyle research study.
The survey attempts to map subtle changes in children's behaviour and preferences. It throws up interesting facts relating to their mindsets and choices, considering their access to technology, TV viewing habits, media consumption and frequency patterns, spending power, favourite icons, and awareness about the nation and the world at large.
The survey report clearly points out children's increased access to emerging technologies. Interesting figures have emerged when it comes to use of mobile phones by the younger generation. Around 9 per cent of children across SEC A, B and C in the age group of 7-14 years have their own mobiles. Interestingly, more boys than girls own and use mobiles.
Television also scores high when it comes to kids' consumption frequency of various media. As many as 98 per cent respondents watched TV throughout the week, radio and newspapers stand at second and third positions, respectively, with 47 per cent and 44 per cent children accessing these media at least twice a week. An interesting trend can be spotted amongst these figures - 25 per cent children read a newspaper on a daily basis. This is twice the level of readership registered among children in other countries covered by similar surveys.
The survey finds that 76 per cent parents watch TV with their kids at some point of time in the day. This could be because India still has many single TV households. The figures for the combined TV viewing have been split into weekday and weekend viewing. On weekdays, 59 per cent parents watch TV with their kids at prime time (8-9pm); on weekends, 54 per cent watch TV with their children at prime time.
Afternoons (2-4pm) account for the highest joint viewing of programmes by parents and kids. During holidays, 44 per cent parents spend their time watching afternoon TV with their children; on school days, only 29 per cent parents watch TV in that slot with their kids.
Commenting on the purpose and significance of the study, Duncan Morris, vice-president, research and market development, Turner International Asia Pacific Ltd, says, "The research aims to gather facts and figures about the choices and preferences of kids in India. We invest heavily in the study to obtain better understanding of the changing needs, lifestyle and attitude of youngsters. The study helps us when it comes to deciding on programming, packaging and wooing advertisers."
Pointing to other interesting data in the study, Krishna Desai, associate director, research, Turner International India Pvt. Ltd, says, "When it comes to assessing the role and impact of advertising and Internet use by kids, the survey throws up interesting figures."
When asked whether TV ads give them any useful information, 74 per cent kids said ads helped them decide what to buy. When the same question was put to the parents, 78 per cent agreed that TV ads do give useful information on products for both them and their children. Around 14 per cent of the kids and 15 per cent of the parents felt TV ads are of no use. And, 11 per cent of the kids and 7 per cent of the parents believed advertising had nothing to do with what they buy.
Some 40 per cent children reported using a computer on a daily basis; a quarter of these use the Internet as well. Children in the age group of 7-9 years use the Internet less frequently than older children aged 10-14 years. Online gaming is the most popular activity for 45 per cent of the kids, listening to music comes second (13 per cent).
Pocket money given to children throws up some more exciting trends. The figures say that 36 per cent parents give their children pocket money. However, where pocket money was earlier disbursed on a monthly basis, now it is given out every week. The average monthly pocket money for kids in all the surveyed cities was Rs 193. Again, boys get more money than girls. Kids in Ludhiana get the highest pocket money (Rs 402), then Mumbai (Rs 215) and Delhi (Rs 213). Children also get to amass an average Rs 700 as gifts on various occasions. So, the total pocket money of the surveyed kids was Rs 330 crore, with gift money adding another Rs 138 crore. The total is a staggering Rs 478 crore per year. Now, that's some food for thought for advertisers targeting kids as consumers.
The children surveyed were asked what they would buy if they had Rs 5,000 in hand. Around half of them said they would buy bicycles, mobiles, video games and clothes, in that order.
The survey also checked the general knowledge of the children: 60 per cent identified the Indian President correctly, while 80 per cent identified the Prime Minister correctly. Around 74 per cent of the children said India was their favourite country, 9 per cent chose the US, 4 per cent, Australia, and 2 per cent, the UK. Universal principles such as promoting peace and love in the world are high on the children's minds - 34 per cent wished for peace in the world and 32 per cent wished for the elimination of poverty and hunger.
The kids' favourite icon is no longer Sachin Tendulkar; the Little Master has been run out by Mahinder Singh Dhoni, though by just 1 per cent - 33 per cent voted for him as against 32 per cent for Tendulkar. Actor Hrithik Roshan has usurped King Khan's throne. Actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan leads the list of female icons, followed by fellow actor Rani Mukherjee.
The research study for 2008 covered 3,020 boys and girls, aged 7-14 years, SEC A, B and C, in 14 cities across India. The parents of the surveyed kids were also included for a few select queries. The cities covered included New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Nashik, Kochi and Madurai.