Yes, It’s True: Kids Are Tablet Fiends. And Gaming Apps Are The Winners

If you own a tablet and have children, chances are that this will not come as news to you. For those who don’t but work in mobile, it’s something worth remembering when you’re concocting up your next big product: Kids are crazy about tablets.

According to some research out today from Nielsen in the U.S., in households that own a tablet, seven out of 10 children under the age of 12 use them. That usage is on the rise: those numbers are for Q4 2011, and are a nine percent increase on the quarter before.

We’ve seen a lot of moves already from large companies looking to court kids in the tablet space. They include companies like Amazon moving into children’s publishing to boost kids’ content for their Kindles. And Apple has also been stepping up, in January laying claim to 20,000 educational apps in the App Store, and 1.5 million iPads being used in schools.

But while that sounds very high and noble, this is not, by a country mile, the most popular content, according to Nielsen. That honor goes to games, with 77 percent of kids playing things like “Angry Birds” (my son’s favorite) or the knock-off “Cut the Birds” (my daughter’s). Educational apps come only second at 55 percent.

Tablets are also, it seems, joining games consoles, books and toys as distractions for kids when they are taken out in public: 55 percent of parents say that kids use their tablets while traveling; 41 percent use them in restaurants.

Finally, Nielsen observes that most of children’s tablet use is about solitary entertainment: only 15 percent of kids use them for communicating with friends and family. That could spell an opportunity for someone.

(Image: flickingerbrad on Flickr)