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Preschoolers adept at using tablets and apps

A new report into preschoolers has found that young children are increasingly using tables and apps, and watch on average two and a half hours of programs, films and videos each day, mostly in the afternoon and evening.

The latest Monitor Preschool Report, from UK research firm Childwise, surveyed the parents of 1,000 0-4 year-olds in the UK. It found that one in three under-fives has his or her own tablet computer, a number that increases to nearly half among three- to four-year-olds. Seven out of 10 preschoolers also have access to a tablet or computer at home.

Most three- and four-year-old children can open their preferred apps, use the volume, on/off and camera controls on their tablet and navigate multiple apps.

Meanwhile the use of mobile phone usage among preschoolers has dropped from 50% last year to 33% in 2016.

According to the study, most parents are comfortable with the amount of time their children spend online or watching television, although one in six feel their children watch too much.

The study also looked at how much parents are spending on their preschool-aged children across categories including clothes, days out, organized activities, footwear, books, magazines, DVDs/Blu-Rays, apps and games, and found that gender differences often dictate how much is spent on a child. Parents tend to spend more on girls, an average of 117 per month, while they spend 101 on boys. Most of the monthly spend goes on clothes.

This difference in spending was also seen the purchasing of books. While an equal numbers of preschool boys and girls chose a book as their most treasured possession, parents of boys spend 25% less on books per month than parents of girls, spending 6 per month on books for boys while parents of girls spend 8 every month

Childwise research manager Jenny Ehren said, "The gender differences in book purchasing for pre-school children are indicative of reading trends that become more significant with age. By the time they reach school, boys aged five to 10 years read for significantly shorter periods and much less frequently for pleasure than girls of the same age."

There were also gender differences in the types of toys children receive. "Pretend play items were mentioned by a number of parents, with traditional gender stereotypes appearing particularly prominent here, as toy kitchens, tea sets, shopping trolleys and tills are favoured by girls, and toy gardening sets and DIY kits are favoured by boys," she said.

"Future brand loyalties and behaviour patterns first take shape at this age. A great deal of how children initially learn about the world is rooted in play - they pick up gender clues all around them, some subtle, and some not so subtle."

24/09/2016Preschoolers adept at using tablets and apps

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