Marketers Must Rethink Mobile Search Content Served To Kids

Some 54% of U.S. teens say they spend too much time on their cell phones. The report from the Pew Research Center, released this week, shows that 54% of teens admit to spending too much time on their phones compared with 36% of parents.

About 44% of teens say they often check their phone as soon as they wake up. Girls are more likely than boys to feel anxious and lonely without their phone, prompting concerns around safety, behavior, content, and how marketers should approach search in the future.

Ting -- a MVNO service and a division of Tucows that supports U.S. consumers -- released the findings from its Ting Digital Family Lifestyle Survey conducted in July, which focuses on kids. It gives marketers insight into the types of safety, content consumption and the rules around phone use implemented by parents. Those participating in the survey were offered $5 in Ting service credit.



Search marketers might want to know that of the 1,565 parents surveyed, 72% say their kids would rather be on their phones than watch TV. They also estimate 27% of kids are using their phones primarily for watching and streaming video.

But don’t try to reach the parents or kids during the dinner hour. While 52% of parents say their kids are allowed to use their phone any time of day, 79% of families have a strict “no phones at the dinner table” policy, according to the findings.

More parents are using their kid’s phone as a form of currency. Some 56% of parents say they sometimes use their kid’s cell phone as incentive to reward good behavior, while 69% report that they have taken cell phones away as a consequence of bad behavior.

The majority of parents said their kids are not allowed to use their phones during class time, yet 32% of parents admit to texting their kids during the day.

Although three-quarters of parents say they got their kids a phone to use in case of emergencies, 78% worry their kids are giving away too much identifying information through apps and websites through geotagging their location or using their full name online, and 81% of parents worry that their kid will become addicted to technology.

Most parents are proactive when it comes to monitoring their kids' activities on their phone, at 73%. About 52% of those parents report that they look at the content of their kid’s text messages, and 45% say they use location tracking on their kid’s phone.

Mobile phones are replacing other methods of content consumption, and Facebook has caught on to the trend. The company began rolling out a set of tools to help advertisers create ads for mobile devices. A blog post explains how marketers can take still image ads and turn them into mobile video ads by converting images and text. It has four templets.

And despite Facebook’s recent announcement to proactively keep younger kids off its social platforms, parents say 23% of kids mostly use their phones for social media, and 37% use their phones for FaceTime, texting and calling.



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