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Staying in (socially distanced) contact

What’s replacing playground huddles, classroom dramas and friendly kickabouts? We used our BeanoBrain - drawn from our online behavioural data, omnibus questions answered by kids and weekly conversations with kids - to find out. And for tech-empowered Gen Alpha and teens the answer is everything! New digital tools alongside old favourites are creating

Even before UK schools closed kids and teens were already sharing their concerns with us - half (45%) said that keeping in touch with friends would make them feel better about the Covid-19 pandemic.

And now we’re in a whole new world: kids social lives have been locked down. So how and where are kids connecting?

Fortnite, whose popularity has been ebbing and flowing over the past few months, has had a new lease of life.

“I’m back on Fortnite, loads of my friends play it a lot and it’s where we all meet up”- Cody 11 (Beano Trendspotter)

And digital tools which combine connection, entertainment and some escapism through play are coming out top for this audience who thrives through tech-enabled creativity.

41% of boys are connecting via the Xbox or PS4 Live and TikTok leads for 9-10 year olds (36%), whilst Instagram dominates for 13-14 year olds with 51% chatting to friends on it.

“I’m using messages (imessage) and TikTok to keep in touch with my friends” – Lily age 10 (Beano Trendspotter)

The (somewhat controversial) HouseParty has dominated the news whilst #NetflixParty trended in the UK and UK kids and teens are beginning to take part, using HouseParty (16%) or NetflixParty (14%) to hang out with their mates. For this audience, it’s unsurprising as, these platforms allow friends to share experiences, have fun, play and keep connected.

We’ve also seen “corporate tools” enter kids’ worlds with 70% of UK kids using video to connect with friends last week from whole classes organising virtual lunch breaks to extra-curricular activities such as Scout groups or piano lessons taking place via Zoom and Google Hangouts. But currently the traditional video chat platforms, WhatsApp (42%) and FaceTime (42%) are still dominating kids’ and teen’s chats - for now.

So, despite physical separation, kids are still managing to create their own digital play spaces with their friends. However, with new digital products launching daily and adults utilising new tools in their working lives each “stay at home” week, it will be fascinating to follow which tools really stick for kids and families.

We’ll keep you posted and as always if you’d like to know more about BeanoBrain get in touch. We’re here to help.