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Youth Lured to 'Net by TV, Print Ads; Tendency Increases with Age

Nearly half (46%) of children aged 6-11 have visited a website to learn more about a product they saw in a commercial or ad.

This propensity increases with age, according to (pdf) findings from Mediamark Research (MRI).

MRI's 2008 American Kids Study finds that the older a child is, the more likely he or she is to turn to the internet after viewing an ad, writes MarketingCharts. Of the nearly 10.7 million young consumers who report visiting a company's website after viewing its ad, 26.5% are 6-7 years old, 33.3% are 8-9 years old and 40.2% are 10-11 years old.

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These internet-viewing children are more likely to hail from households where there are no rules placed on which sites they can or cannot visit, the study found. The gender split is almost even, with 49.4% of girls and 50.6% of boys saying that viewing an ad resulted in a website visit.

In addition, MRI data shows children who report visiting a website after they saw or heard about it in a commercial are 48% more likely than the average US child to access the internet every day. They are also 41% more likely to have their own email address, 40% more likely to use an instant messenger service, and 34% more likely to download music.

"Many marketers, whether they are targeting adults or children, hope to drive prospects to their website via their ad campaigns," said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP of marketing stragegic planning at MRI. "MRI data clearly indicate that the younger set is pretty responsive to a 'please visit our Web site' suggestion."

Previous studies have found 89% of US-based children are more computer-savvy than previous generations, and online time in particular has become critical to teen learning and development.

About the study: The 2008 American Kids Study, with approximately 5,000 participants from households included in MRI's Survey of the American Consumer, uses an innovative child-friendly questionnaire.

In addition to surveying children in the household, MRI asks primary caregivers to fill out a separate questionnaire detailing the child’s purchase influence and activities.

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