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4 December 2014

What Kids Like on the Web -- Boys and Girls' Favorite Sites

Keywords: Websites, internet, survey, North America, kids,

A study in Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media investigates what sites children are using on the Internet. It turns out that website preferences vary for boys and girls of different ages.

Take aways

  • Websites preferences vary for boys and girls and for younger and older children:
    • Younger children (< 10 y/o) prefer sites focusing on TV shows, education, and play.
    • Older children (>10 y/o) prefer social network and video websites.
    • Girls prefer virtual worlds, while boys like online gaming.
    • Older children prefer websites targeting older children, while young children like websites targeting all ages.
    • Girls generally prefer sites for younger children, but boys like sites for older children.
  • These findings highlight the importance for website developers to take into account the gender and age of their target group.

Study information

  • The question?

    What sites are children using on the Internet? And does this differ for age and gender?

  • Who?

    442 8-to 12-year-olds (mean age: 10 years old; 48% were boys). The sample was part of a large national sample of 909 children and adolescents from a study on youth media consumption.

  • Where?

    United States

  • How?

    The children were recruited through an online youth panel managed by a large company in the United States. Parents were asked to allow one child to fill out the online survey. Completing the survey took approximately 20 minutes. Children answered question about their time spent using the Internet and website preferences.

Facts and findings

  • YouTube and Facebook were the two most favored websites among the children.
  • Children’s website preferences differed for younger (8- to 10-year-olds) and older children (11- to 12-year-olds):
    • Younger children mentioned TV show sites (e.g., Disney), virtual worlds (e.g., Farmville), toy, and educational websites more often as favorites compared to older children.
    • Older children named video sites (e.g., YouTube), social networks (e.g., Facebook), and game websites as their favorites.
    • Older children used websites rated for 13-year-olds more often, while younger children used websites rated for 7- to 9-year-olds as well as for 13-year-olds.
    • Older children went online more often compared to younger children.
  • Boys and girls also differed in their website preferences:
    • Girls preferred TV show, virtual worlds, and games web sites while boys preferred games and sports websites.
    • Girls preferred sites rated for 8-year-olds and boys sites for 13-year-olds.
    • There was no difference between boys and girls for social network sites.