Mary McIlrath

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Finding Your Generational Identity

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 @ 02:59 PM

BlogGenZ2

Who am I? Where do I fit in the scheme of the decades, and what defines me?  Never fear, YouthBeat® has the answers.  Your existential crisis is over.  

Here at YouthBeat®, we’ve been surveying youth for more than a decade.  We had Millennials in our data set when they were teens, and we have Generation Z now.  This gives us the unique ability to compare the attitudes and behaviors of these two generations, based on their actual responses to our survey questions.

This was a fascinating exercise for us—we entered into it with several hypotheses (“stereotypes” is such a negative word), and the results were very surprising! Themes that we expected, but didn’t necessarily see validated, include:
  1. Millennials Lite: Being so close in age to Millennials, Gen Z (which some call Centennials) should largely share the attitudes and behaviors of those who passed through a few years ahead of them.
  2. Bleak Financial Outlook: Both generations lived through the housing and stock market crashes of 2007, so both should have similar behaviors when it comes to saving and spending.
  3. Social Creatures: Gen Z, living in a connected age, should be more active on social media than their Millennial counterparts.
  4. Multicultural Melding: The youngest Gen Zers come from no single majority ethnic background (some call them Plurals for this reason). All ethnic groups, then, should think and act in similar ways.
  5. Principled + Charitable: Growing up in the age of TOMS, Gen Zers should be more likely than Millennials were to put their money into brands that engage in cause-related marketing.
  6. Media Multitaskers: With so many functions available on mobile devices, Gen Zers should be more likely than Millennials to be engaged in multiple activities at a time.

In each of these areas, we identify marketing campaigns that fit squarely with the preferences and ideals of Generation Z…and some that miss the mark.

And here’s the best part…we crafted a fun quiz so you can find out whether your mindset is more aligned with the Millennial or the Gen Z generation.

Click Here to Take the Quiz!

 

Tags: kids tweens teens market research, kids tweens teens, millennials, Gen Z, generation research

A Comment on Teens and Religion from YouthBeat®

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Thu, Jan 03, 2019 @ 05:14 PM

In December, Donna Freitas wrote a compelling essay for the New York Times. The topic? The relative lack of presence of religion in young adult (YA) literature, and the taboo of presenting characters that have religion as part of their journey. It’s an interesting notion that got us at YouthBeat® wondering if, when young people graduate from children’s media that overtly teaches the lessons of their family’s religion, do they stop caring?GettyImages-1084316354

By the time Millennials reached adulthood, many of them had walked away from faith of any kind. The Public Religion Research Institute reported in 2016 that more young adults 18-29 claimed no religious affiliation (39%) than at any point since they began tracking the figure in 1986 (when it was 10%). As Jana Reiss pointed out last June, one simple explanation for the empty houses of worship is the delay of marriage and parenthood (marriage and religion being strongly correlated). We’ve all read the stories of young adults with staggering student loans moving back home with their parents, not owning their own houses or cars, and waiting to settle down.

But what happens in the years between?  Our YouthBeat® data support the notion that many parents still consider their families to be involved with organized religion. In 2018, 56% of parents of teens say they consider their families “Very” or “Fairly” involved in religion, down slightly from 59% when we first asked the question in 2010. Younger parents are no less likely than older ones to report the same thing—58% of parents ages 18-34 versus 57% of parents ages 35+.* Ms. Reiss appears to be correct when she quotes an old pastor’s joke about people coming to religion to be “hatched, matched, or dispatched.”

The proportion of teens who attended a religious service the prior weekend hasn’t changed much from 23% when we launched the question in 2011, to 2018 (21%). Weekday attendance, already lower than weekends, has fallen off more precipitously (from 9% to 6%).* That’s not necessarily a reflection of affinity, though. Teens could simply be spending more time on homework or socializing within apps like TikTok and Fortnite instead of gathering at the church for in-person activities on weekdays. A lower proportion of parents, however, report “Praying or Going to Church” as a favorite activity to do with their teen in 2018 (22%) than in 2011 (26%).* These circumstances could suggest that teens are growing up with a weaker bond to their family’s religion than a generation ago.

Our POV: It's too soon to know how many of Generation Z, like 39% of Millennials, will consider themselves non-believers. They’re often compared more to the Greatest Generation than those just a decade or so their seniors. Could they reverse the trend?

*Source: YouthBeat® Total Year 2010/2011 and Jan-June 2018

Tags: millennials, religion, reading, books, generation z, Teens

2018 YouthBeat Holiday Wish List

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 @ 01:00 PM

If you blinked this year, you may have missed some of the vast changes in the youth gift space.  Toys ‘R Us is shuttered, but expected to be back via pop-up stores and with Geoffrey displays in Kroger aisles over the holidays.  There are even rumors that some TRU stores may re-open next year, at the same time FAO Schwartz may be re-expanding into brick and mortar spaces.  Beleaguered Sears isn’t publishing a Wish Book for 2018, which it issued every year from 1933 to 2011, and again in 2017.  It’s effectively the demise of an 85-year-old tradition.

That’s not to say that nobody will be buying kids presents this year. On the contrary, holiday spending is expected to top $1 TRILLION in the U.S. If traditional toy stores and catalogs are in decline, how is everyone spending all of that money?

For one, ecommerce continues to gain traction, even with the youngest kids, who are shopping online significantly more than they did even last year. Given the choice of where to spend $100 on a gift card, youth most often choose Amazon or Target, where their purchasing dollars can go towards a wide range of goods.

In terms of specific gifts, youth of all ages and both genders want the latest smartphones (perhaps to aid their online shopping), and teens in particular are craving Apple Watches. Male kids are asking for more shoes.Teen girls are asking for art supplies this holiday season, instead of the cold, hard cash they wanted last year. 

Less than three in ten kids are still writing letters to Santa, while tweens and teens are more likely to just tell their parents what they want or beef up an online wish list (like Amazon).Time is marching forward in gift-giving to youth, and smart brands are staying ahead of it.

Learn much more about what kids, tweens, and teens are feeling about this holiday gift season in our 2018 Holiday Wish List infographic. Download it by clicking on the image below!

Holiday Wish List Banner Link

*Source: eMarketer (November 2018)

Tags: youth, kids, tweens, teens, holiday

Generation Z: Redefining What Makes a Hot Brand

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 03:13 PM

Business Insider published an article this summer about industries and brands who are at risk because they’re losing ground with Generation Z compared to their Millennial customer base.  At YouthBeat, our data generally supports their conclusions that many brands are starting to lose ground with Gen Z consumers due to their focus on millennials.  And we’ve got a solid theory about why.  Every generation likes to forge their own path in discovering brands that they feel, when they’re young, match the needs that their parents’ brands are too stale to address.  It’s part of building independence—exploration and early adoption.

Millennials broke the mold adopting new brands that technology made available; registering for “The” Facebook as college students, signing up for Pandora, and embracing other first-to-market new media services like MySpace.  In the world of shopping, they flocked to Abercrombie & Fitch, and later, to fast-fashion pioneer H&M.  They were willing to spend money on brands that connoted affluence, and that everyone else in their peer group used.

Generation Z is no exception to this quest for their own brands that meet their not-so-subtle different needs.  This generation was fully aware of the Great Recession as it unfolded, perhaps watching parents lose jobs and even homes.  Plus, they saw older siblings suffer backlash from their public social posts (getting in trouble for posting images of partying when they should have been studying or being cyberbullied for a publicly-posted opinion).  What does all that mean?  Generation Z is much more money-savvy and private than their Millennial counterparts.  And that impacts the brands they use, including their social media and retail preferences.

Just this week, Commonsense Media released an infographic about the social media habits of Generation Z. Their data focused on the emotional impact of social media on teens.  At YouthBeat, our questionnaire is a little different, but we concur that Instagram (63% of teens with an account) and Snapchat (61% of teens with an account*) are far more relevant to this generation than Facebook was to Millennials.  For Snapchat in particular, teens are more interested in sending amusing filtered photos and videos to friends they know in the tangible space (and maintaining their streaks) than making public posts on another media and possibly attracting trolls.

In terms of shopping, the Business Insider article called out that Generation Z is less likely than Millennials to be shopping department stores, and more likely to be engaging directly with brands online, in search of the best deals.  Our data support that too.  Amazon is now teens’ favorite place to shop overall—above any brick + mortar store.  Old Navy is one of their Top 5 brands of clothing, while Abercrombie & Fitch is absent (Hollister, an A&F brand, is just below Old Navy).* Stay tuned, though, as A&F has a new CEO as of last year, and is overhauling its retail to appeal to younger consumers.

OUR POV:

Successful brands are the ones who meet the changing needs of each generation, based on a deep understanding of what drives those needs—beyond life stage.  At YouthBeat, we’ve declared Generation Z “so over,” because Generation Alpha, born 2010-present, are the ones to focus on now for a solid longer-term strategy.  Reach out to us for our Generational Spotlight infographic for a head start.

*Source: YouthBeat® Jan-June 2018

Tags: Gen Z, millennials, brands, youth marketing

Infographic: Media Usage by Kids, Tweens, and Teens, 2014-2017

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Thu, Aug 02, 2018 @ 01:45 PM

Have you noticed that every young person today seems to be tethered to a mobile device?  Whether they’re watching YouTube videos, playing Fortnite, or streaming Netflix, technology has made media content ubiquitous to youth.  But, what they’re accessing, and how they are accessing it, has changed a great deal even in the last few years.

We’ve harnessed the power of our YouthBeat® data—our syndicated youth research study that we field every month with kids, tweens, and teens —which reveals some eye-opening, big-picture shifts over time. Want to learn the truth about whether live TV viewing is dead with youth? 

Click here to download our new infographic, Top 9 Truths about Youth’s Media Usage Trends: #6 Will Blow Your Mind! 

Tags: YouthBeat, youth media, trends, kids tweens teens market research

Youth Get Physical in the Summer Sun

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Thu, Jul 05, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

It’s summer vacation, when parents encourage their kids to take a break from the video game controller, get outside and move.  It’s an important notion, not just for burning off energy and getting some fresh air, but also because physical activity is associated with endorphin release and a feeling of well-being, as well as the satisfaction and confidence that comes from building skills—physical or otherwise.  Here are four “get moving” trends popping up in communities around the U.S. that can make burning off some energy a bit more fun than the usual trips to the park and the pool:

1. Get Your Museum On. A visit to the museum just got a lot more interesting for kids who want some kinesthetic release in addition to wandering through the exhibits.  The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis opened a new larger, space this year (more than 7 acres) for families to participate in activities from the familiar (basketball and golf) to the more exotic (tackling football dummies or racing pedal cars).  For those on the West Coast, the Portland Children’s Museum in Oregon and the Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena, CA offer similar adventures.
kid yoga outside

2. Get Your Goat (Yoga). Yoga is beneficial to kids as well as adults—that’s why it’s used in so many schools and afterschool programs for relaxation and focus, as well as the physical benefits it provides. Goat yoga classes have popped up on farms all over the country. Essentially, people do their yoga thing while adorable goats wander around, encourage and will jump onto the backs of the participants. There’s also petting and snuggly involved. They’re built-in emotional support animals for kids and adults that bring the yogi experience to a whole new level.  These are available in rural areas from Massachusetts to California and points in between, and some farmers will even bring their animals to visit you. 
 
3. Get Pumped (Iron) Up. Some child athletes start lifting light weights as early as 4th grade to support their bodies in traditional sports.  But now there is an entire powerlifting circuit available to youth.  Several adult powerlifting organizations like USA Powerlifting and United States Powerlifting Association of Irvine that host events targeted to youth as young as 8 years old.  It’s important to note that any child who starts a weightlifting regimen must be closely supervised by a parent lifter or coach, to avoid progressing to weights that are too heavy, and potentially damaging muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  That said, the youth who do participate report feelings of power and achievement, which can carry over and provide confidence in all other aspects of life (including schoolwork).
 
kid skateboard
4. Get Thee to the Skate Park. Long gone are the days of the 1990s when skateboarders were the rebellious bad boys and girls of the urban scene, riding illegally and dangerously in traffic.  A generation later, they’ve evolved into supportive and encouraging communities gathering in public fixture installations across the country—nearly ubiquitously in urban areas and increasingly familiar in suburban ones.  Hanging out, learning tricks, admiring one’s fellow skateboarders, and even recording video to upload to Instagram, are the new good clean fun times of the skate park.  And the proper gear (helmet and pads) makes the sport safer than ever to give it a try.

OUR POV:

Summer is a great time for youth to get outside, try something new, and maybe discover a new passion for a new or different fitness activity.  Keep these trends in mind and try and use your brand to encourage exploration and connection with others as youth get moving.  And, as always, remind youth to remember their sunscreen!

Tags: YouthBeat, youth research, summer vacation, Physical Activity

YouthBeat Salutes Fathers and Father Figures of All Kinds

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Mon, Jun 04, 2018 @ 01:25 PM

As we draw near Father’s Day this year, it’s worth noting that dads are more hands-on than ever, taking a team approach with moms to parenting.  In 2017, more than 8 in 10 dads report being “very” or “somewhat” involved in tasks like helping their children with homework, grocery shopping, and talking to them about personal issues they face while growing up.*

8 out of 10 dads

But not every child has a dad in the home.  One out of three children in America (totaling 24 million) does not live in the same home as their biological father.**  For many, fatherly figures come in all shapes and sizes and from some unexpected places.  Whether a child turns to their own father, a male relative, or a man in their community, these relationships are incredibly important. 

And, we’ve found that many schools across the country are recognizing the different forms these fatherly relationships can take by giving their Father-Daughter Dances a facelift to also include single mothers, same-sex couples, and other less traditional family members.  At an elementary school in El Paso, uncles, grandpas, brothers, and friends are all welcome to attend their annual Father-Daughter Dance. In Sacramento, Riverside Elementary now calls their event a “Family Dance,” encouraging students to bring any adult of their choosing. 

For the subset of youth being raised without a fatherly figure, men in their communities are stepping up to help fill that role.  At the start of the 2017-2018 school year in Atlanta, over 70 men from a variety of non-profit organizations joined forces to greet 370 boys at BEST Academy.  They welcomed students on their first day with cheers, handshakes, high-fives, hugs, and words of encouragement. 

100-black-menThese male role models show up and encourage in many ways. Take the Fuller Cut, a barbershop in Michigan, offers its young clients a two-dollar discount for reading while in the barber chair.  Owner Ryan Griffin provides books with positive messages and encourages students as they read aloud.  Or in Indiana, the manager of a local bike shop rallied more than 50 bikers to come to the aid of an 11-year-old boy who was being bullied.  The group escorted the student to his first day of school and donated new clothes and school supplies to help him feel more confident. 

Our POV:
Masculine role models that youth can look up to and learn from are as important as ever.  But for many youth, these fatherly figures are coming from outside their own home.  As a brand AND AS a human being, how can you help nurture positive relationships between young people and “dads” in every form? 

*Source: YouthBeat® Syndicated Report
**Source: U.S. Census

Tags: Fathers Day, youth marketing, Youth, role models

Youth, Apps and Technology: A Sn”app”shot

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 @ 02:50 PM

Apps are unquestionably ubiquitous today, even among toddlers, with 6 in 10 2-year-olds possessing the ability to use them.* It’s not a surprise that they have this skill set. They easily put that skill to practice by handling their parents’ smartphones as well as tablets. For older youth, 4 in 10 of them own their own tablets, as do half of tweens. Even more tweens (6 in 10) own their own cell phones, as do 8 in 10 teens.** And having their own devices only increases youth’s exposure to the world of apps.

Let’s pause for a moment to consider the nature of an app. We at YouthBeat® think of an app as a window to the content producer’s toolset, storyline, and/or imagination. Some, such as YouTube, Netflix, or Google (YouTube for grown-ups), are clearinghouses for further connections.  Others, like ABC Mouse or Minecraft, direct young users to specific creative, educational, and/or entertaining content.

In what seems like an infinite pool of available apps designed for youth, they’re not all created equal. Some are purely academic. In our YouthBeat® Trendspotter, we’ve written about apps that parents can use to link to their children’s classrooms, like ClassDojo and Seesaw, that allow teachers to upload notifications and grades to facilitate communication with parents. Others, like Angry Birds (still a Top 5 favorite with kids**) are purely for entertainment. Social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat are Top 5 favorites with tweens and teens**who want to stay connected to peers. **

But some apps are more controversial. For example, Bravo Kids Media has drawn criticism from the Endangered Bodies International Campaign for releasing an app called Beauty Clinic Plastic Surgery, in which players perform “operations” on patients to enhance their looks. Endangered Bodies contends that this fosters the notion that one’s natural beauty may not be good enough, and that plastic surgery may be the answer. At YouthBeat®, we do see that self-acceptance is still an issue for youth, particularly girls.More than 1 in 10 tween and teen girls want to change something about their face, and the same proportion of each cohort wishes to be prettier/more attractive.**

OUR POV:

Our experience is that people who create apps for children generally do it because they want to entertain or otherwise enrich children’s lives. That doesn’t mean they thoroughly think through the ramifications of their content. We advise clients to vet their content with experts, parents, and when appropriate, youth, before release, in order to “first, do no harm.”

*Source: YouthBeat® Jr., Fall 2017
**Source: YouthBeat®, Jul-Dec 2017

Tags: youth marketing, youth research, technology, smartphones, apps, kids tweens teens market research, kids

A Softer, Gentler Toy Fair

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Tue, Mar 06, 2018 @ 01:59 PM

Toy Fair 2018 was last week in New York, and was a pleasant surprise to YouthBeat (who is led by a somewhat tech-wary adult).  We’re excited to share some of the themes we noticed:

  • Everything Isn’t Electronic
    • Sure, there were amazing drones and robotics and remote-controlled cars and coding-based games, but they didn’t dominate the trade floor as they did in 2017.
    • Plenty of blocks, plushes, board games, and other traditional books and toys are still available for toy stores to purchase and stock. Check out Surprizimals, the mystery plush that is collectible.
    • Bubble Paws are our favorite new product from the convention—children (or adults) don plastic “animal paws” with holes embedded, dip them in bubble solution, and swipe the air to make a bubble frenzy!
  • Bracelet Comebacks
    • In an era where “A” for “Arts” has been left out of STEM, YouthBeat was delighted to see a range of materials for child self-expression—in the form of bracelets, just when we thought we were long overdue for a wrist trend.
    • Some new products that sparked our interested is the Kudo Banz product: Child-driven wearable rewards. Here’s how it works:
      • Children wear the band and earns rewards of their choosing throughout the day.
      • Once they earn three rewards, parents get notifications on their phone through the connected app and they can bestow extra gifts like extended story time at night.
    • Other companies like Frogsac are offering jewelry, charms, pins, and patches to help kids create a pastiche of self-expression.
    • Another of our favorite new products is Flow Rings. They offer glitzy, kinetic fun in the form of bracelets.
  • Fantastical Fun
    • In a world where active shooter drills and politics on the TV can seem scary, safe and fun playful fantasy still abide for young children.
    • This year turned up many unicorn items as well as sparkly, glittery toys and play items. You can even buy a unicorn Pillow Pet!
    • Leading this trend, Glitter Girls dolls include “glitter on every bow and shoe.”
  • Gross Goings-On
    • Along the fantastical theme, children still enjoy the humor in bodily functions and external snotty, slimy vibes. These are developmentally necessary, helping kids see and test social limits, as well as express irreverence that isn’t yet the rebelliousness of teenhood.  Plus, a gross surprise is unexpected and fun!
    • From the makers of Slimeball (“Slime or Be Slimed!) comes Skunkball (extend your paddle rally or be “Skunked!”)
    • Hog Wild: “Throwing Stuff that Sticks since 1996” poppers have been popular around the YouthBeat office. Watch out or you’ll get popped!
  • Parent Pertinent
    • Many toys, especially those converging digital and tactical elements, espouse “purposeful play.” It’s good to see digital designers creating products and apps not just because they can, but because they will have real developmental benefits for children.  Similar to what YouthBeat saw at the Consumer Electronics Show last month, tangible and physical elements are complementing digital ones in new toy offerings.
    • For Millennial parents who value sustainability (isn’t that all of them?), companies like Para Kito offer essential oils that are natural mosquito repellants for fun summer nights.
    • There’s a lack of pretense that toys are just for kids these days—adults were seen around the showroom enjoying everything from the new Razor Trike to Fat Brain Toy Co.’s Door Pong (invented by Alexander X., age 10).

Our POV is that we appreciate the thoughtfulness we saw on the showroom floor this year.  Homegrown toy companies are creating meaningful ways to play, not just jumping on bandwagons or innovating for the sake of novelty.  The joy of childhood is squarely in the spotlight this year, and we encourage our client brands to strike a similar tone.

Tags: kids tweens teens, trends, YouthBeat, youth marketing, 2018 trends, kids tweens teens market research, technology, toy trends

Kids and Technology: A Perfect Pairing?

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 @ 04:13 PM

It was a long, strange week in Las Vegas.  Normally that sentence wouldn’t have anything to do with YouthBeat®, but last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) changed all that.

Two relevant media stories set the stage.  First, Apple was challenged by two of its investors to consider their responsibility in preventing or ameliorating the risk of technology addiction in young people.  Increasingly, studies are showing that too much technology time is detrimental to youth—their sleep, their classroom performance, their emotions, and their overall well-being.  Second, VTECH was fined $650,000 for a Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violation.  Their Kid Connect app originally did not obtain adequate parental permission before allowing the collection of personally identifiable information from child users (but that has since been updated).  Because of these stories, the national discourse, then, centered on the risks of technology use by youth.

Juxtaposed against this, the exhibitors at CES unveiled some of the most cutting-edge new technologies for kids—and even infants.  Some of them begged the question about where the line might be drawn between the benefits and risks of digital devices.  A key benefit of many of the products for the youngest kids is giving parents a greater sense of control.  And these aren’t all Millennial parents, some of the oldest of Generation Z (like Kylie Jenner, if the rumors are true) are now becoming young parents. Gen Z, having been raised during the recession, is already known to be savvy as consumers, gritty in their attitudes, and appreciative of control when the world seems tumultuous. 

In our YouthBeat®, Jr. survey, the youngest parents (ages 18-34) say that “to be safe and healthy” is the most important thing for their child right now (64%*).  These brands and their devices are ready to help young parents achieve that sense of control over their children’s health and safety:

  • Burabi’s formula making machine precisely mixes formula and water, at a precise temperature, to ensure the bottle is filled with exactly what the parents intend. Foolproof!
  • Monkey’s smart “threadable” devices (for placing on shoes or hair ties) transmit a signal to an app on the parent’s device, alerting parents if children wander outside of a designated radius from the parent. No more wandering off at the park—or theme park!  And a great licensing opportunity for the right brand.
  • Orig3n’s DNA testing kits aren’t just for ancestry anymore. Their Child Development kit allows a parent to swab thechild’s mouth, send in the swab, and learn about genetic factors that can help predict areas where the child may excel or struggle in school, their probable aptitude for a variety of sports, and possible health and dietary concerns for which to watch out.

And then there was a lot of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for parents that could change the very nature of the way parents interact with their infants and toddlers.  In a way, today’s young children may never know what it’s like to be “alone.”  Of note:

  • The ZIB-1S intelligent robot is a smart baby monitor/speaker that recognizes the sound of an infant’s cry, and can alert the parent over WeChat, or tell a story to the child. As the child ages, the device becomes more of a teacher, helping with dates, math, and other topics.
  • Project Nursery has a Smart Baby Monitor system leveraging the existing Amazon Alexa, allowing a parent to remotely gauge the temperature of the nursery, have Alexa time a baby’s nap, or tell the child a story.
  • The Cocoon Cam (billed as the “Tesla of baby monitors”) allows two-way communication between the nursery and parent—and, unlike other smart baby monitors, requires no wearables on the infant. Instead, the monitor uses a camera to monitor the child’s breathing, and sends alerts to parents as needed.

Probably the most exciting devices for kids would be the augmented reality (AR) products (and YouthBeat® is curious about how many of these will pop up at Toy Fair next month too):

  • Square Panda’s series of toys uses apps and manipulatives to bridge the digital and physical divide. YouthBeat® has seen academic research showing that similar multisensory technology helps children learn better and interact with others more, versus simply playing with an app.
  • Similarly, Pai Technology’s apps leverage physical components as well. YouthBeat®’s favorite of their offerings is Ocean Pets, in which children mold colorful clay into fish designs, then scan them into an AR story under the sea.
  • Neobear’s MAGNEO is a handheld device housing their range of AR apps which interact with a variety of products: Flashcards bring zoo animals to life, a globe provides cultural information on a range of countries, and most interesting to YouthBeat®, the ability to scan in children’s drawings and manipulate the designs just by passing colorful objects in front of the sensor.
  • Octagon’s free app that brings flashcards to life on the topics of the human body, outer space, animals, dinosaurs, and more. YouthBeat®’s favorite is the Humanoid 4D+ deck—it’s medical school in a packet!

It was clear to YouthBeat® that the creators of these products genuinely like children—and parents—and want to use technology to improve their lives.  The Apple and VTECH events possibly couldn’t have occurred at a better time, to remind inventors that “real” life is still valuable, even fragile at times.  As an industry, we can’t produce technology just because it’s possible. Its positive impact on youths’ lives needs to outweigh any risks to which it may expose them.  We challenge our partners to take up that mantle and create safe and enriching devices and content for children.

*Source: YouthBeat®, Jr., September 2017

Tags: kids tweens teens, trends, YouthBeat, youth marketing, 2018 trends, kids tweens teens market research, technology