Screen Time, Backlash & Contradictory Trends
Kids are spending more time on screens…fact!
There has been an accompanying growth in parental screen backlash i.e. turn off that TV, tablet, phone, computer etc. and go and do something else instead.
So how can we have two opposite trends at the same time? Simple…in scientific terms, sure you’ve heard the maxim of ‘Every reaction has an equal and opposite counter reaction”. There is so much truth in this when applied to the trends in Kid’s entertainment, play patterns, toy habits and gaming consumption.
The reality is that while the kid may want to spend literally every waking minute on their tablet or other device, the parent knows this is not good for the child. Clearly many parents rejoice at some peace and quiet as the child immerses themselves, and parents may also feel reassured if the child is playing with/watching a kid friendly tablet or other device/program. However, there comes a point when enough is enough, and the screen backlash comes to the fore.
Recently we tried to explain all this to a perplexed Consulting firm who had engaged us for our input to a complicated takeover deal they were working on. They asked how can there be both trends at once – for kids to spend more time on screens and for parents to be telling them to switch them off…which trend is winning? The reality is that both are (a point they eventually accepted).
So while we have seen huge growth in technology driven toys, and new media in recent years, and while this trend is only going to gather momentum, so we also have plentiful opportunity for more traditional play patterns.
The point is that the good marketer will understand this dynamic and craft a marketing message to suit the particular end of this trend spectrum they are targeting.