Turner International, which offers Cartoon Network and Pogo, the two major kids' channels in India, recently released the 11th edition of its New Generation study. The study analyses various facets of children's behaviour and their roles, including their media consumption habits, mobile and internet usage, affinity towards various extra-curricular activities and decision making for big purchases in the family.
New Generation observes behaviour of children in the age group of 7-14 years. When it was first launched in 1998, the study analysed trends in the Asia-Pacific region; however, since 2001, the India-only version was launched, with increased sample size in the country. While in 2001, the findings were based on interviews with 3,253 respondents, in the current year (2012), the total number of respondents has increased to 7,000.
The number of cities that came within the scope of the research, too, has increased from four in 1998 to 26 this year, and includes New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Nasik, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Guwahati and Hyderabad.
afaqs! analyses the major behavioural changes revealed since the last report, released in 2011.
The current findings suggest that preference towards cartoon viewing amongst kids has increased from 60 per cent in 2011 to 63 per cent in 2012. However, among parents it has decreased by 2 percentage points, from 27 per cent in 2011 to 25 per cent in 2012.
Increased internet usage
As per the New Generation study 2011, about 48 per cent of the surveyed kids were computer users, while this year it has increased to 58 per cent. Internet is used by 27 per cent of the surveyed kids now, while last year, 18 per cent kids claimed to have used it. However, the number of kids using the internet at home remains the same. Like last year, the current report, too, states that only 46 per cent of the kids access it at home, while the rest use the internet at cyber cafes, schools or at houses of friends and relatives.
The percentage of children using the internet at least once a week has increased from 64 per cent to 87 per cent. The internet is still mostly used for gaming by both girls and boys. One of the interesting changes in the current report is that last year, 20 per cent of the parents polled believed that their kids visited social networking sites and 19 per cent kids claimed that they did. This year, 23 per cent of the parents believe their kids visit these sites but 53 per cent of the children claim to have visited them.This can only mean one of two things: either parents don't know what their children are up to or their wards are exaggerating their social networking presence!
Drop in mobile phone usage
Surprisingly, even though the affinity towards digital is increasing globally, the number of mobile phone users amongst Indian kids has dropped from 79 per cent to 73 per cent in the current year. However, as in the the last report, the current edition also suggests that one in 10 kids possesses his/her own mobile phone.
Less gift monies; less savings, too
About 56 per cent kids receive pocket money. Expectedly, the average amount of pocket money received by kids has increased from Rs 193 in 2008 to Rs 280 in 2011, and remains more or less steady this year (Rs 275). Only 37 per cent of the surveyed kids save their pocket money, against the 55 per cent mentioned in last year's report.
Further, this year, 53 per cent kids received gift money, with the average annual gift money being Rs 799. In 2011, 58 per cent kids said they received gift money, with an average annual amount of Rs 845.
Salman Khan replaces Shahrukh Khan as favourite
In 2011, Shahrukh Khan was the favourite Bollywood actor in the kids' list with 28 per cent opting for him, while this year, Salman Khan rules the roost, with 37 per cent of the surveyed kids voting for him. Currently, Shahrukh Khan (17 per cent) stands at the No. 2 position, followed by Hrithik Roshan (10 per cent) at No. 3.
Meanwhile, Katrina Kaif continues to be the most favourite female actor, albeit with a lower percentage of followers (from 36 per cent in 2011 down to 31 per cent in 2012). However, the contenders in the No. 2 and No. 3 positions have been swapped. In the current report, Kareena Kapoor is ahead of Aishwarya Rai by a single percentage point. Last year, Aishwarya was ahead by four percentage points.
Sachin, too, continues to top kids' fan base amongst sportsmen with 39 per cent of the respondents opting for him but this is down sharply from 57 per cent in 2011. However, the No. 2 and 3 positions remain the same, with M S Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh maintaining their ranking in the popularity chart.
Decreased affinity for cricket
Amongst favourite sports, cricket rules the roost amongst boys (followed by football and then badminton), while badminton is girls' most preferred sport (followed by cricket and then tennis). While cricket stays right up there with a 77 per cent preference among boys, same as 2011, badminton has dropped somewhat from 33 per cent to 30 per cent .
However, cricket tops the list as the most viewed sport on television, for both girls and boys. Preference for watching cricket has dropped from 90 per cent to 80 per cent among boys, while it has plummeted from 62 per cent to 41 per cent for girls.