Blog – Kids in the Time of Corona

Posted on: Monday 27 April 2020 10:36am

In the first of a series of webinars for the ‘Children’s Media Community’ leading up to the online Children’s Media Conference in July, the presentations shared the latest data about kids’ response to coronavirus lockdown and what it might mean for content producers in the short- and long-term.

Adam Woodgate, Dubit

Adam presented the latest research data representing kids’ media consumption from 2017 to 2020 (slides available by request from

Some of the more notable findings:

  • An uptick in use of smart speakers, which are broadly discounted by parents as ‘screen time’.
  • Tablets are making a comeback in lockdown.
  • PC laptop use is on the rise—a likely consequence of remote learning.
  • Linear TV viewing for pre-schoolers is on the rise, driven by parents to who trust providers of curated content to be de facto childminders during lockdown.
  • ‘Subscription fatigue’ evident prior to Covid-19 has abated. Parents appear to be spending on new subscriptions in lockdown. But will this last post-corona?
  • Free services are in higher demand, including I-Player, ITV Hub and so on.

In terms of audience behaviour, the lockdown may have a profound (and not necessarily temporary) impact on media viewing and consuming.

  • A rise in offline family activities: arts & crafts, traditional boardgames/puzzles, physical exercise, baking, and even household chores! How might these offline activities influence content producers going forward?
  • The current limitations on making ‘shiny floor’ and ‘big reveal’ TV has created a new programme dynamic. When and how will those formats return?
  • With the amount of new live action TV soon to ‘run out,’ YouTube can more easily satisfy kids’ appetite for live action content. What does this mean for content makers?
  • Social media platforms are, of course, still rising in popularity. But will adults’ newfound interest in TikTok and other popular apps kill their youth appeal?!
  • 11% of people say they may not to return to cinema-going post-corona. How might producers find new routes to market?

In addition to general trends in media consumption, the data points to some interesting kid-specific trends:

  • The revival of veteran gaming titles, such as Sonic, possibly points to a nostalgia factor as kids take comfort in ‘old favourites’ that remind them of happier times.
  • Little interest in news content made for them. Younger children turn to parents/trusted adults for corona news, while older children/teens look for content on multiple platforms not aimed at them.
  • Continued innovation in use of platforms/apps that creators didn’t anticipate (the use of Roblox for birthday parties, for example).
  • Consuming far more educational content. How will content continue to evolve to meet the challenges (present and future) of home-schooling?
  • Screen-time may slump post-corona as kids catch up with friends and family. How long might a slump last? And how will content makers win kids back?

Rocket Little Shots: How Do Kids Feel?

The webinar included some video interviews with kids about their lives under lockdown.

  • Common feelings: Confused, bored, disbelief, weird, uncertain, annoyed/frustrated, fed up.
  • Good things about lockdown: family time, chance to play/create, sleeping in.
  • Life after lockdown: fearful, cautious, worried about being behind in their education. But hopeful for a more respectful, appreciative society and looking forward to socialising.

Lydia Mossahebi (KidsKnowBest)

The KidsKnowBest research is informing brands about how kids are feeling so that they can respond sensitively. Overall, kids are feeling the isolation and are hyperaware of the virus (and susceptible to conspiracy theories!).

In the ‘Staying Up’ series made by kids aged 5-12, there were 5 main themes:

  1. Device use. Kids have more screen time and are using apps not designed for them, e.g. House Party and Zoom.
  2. Family time. Can create conflict in the household.
  3. Creativity as a coping mechanism. Kids are using whatever resources they have.
  4. Sense of community. Kids are participating in public displays of kindness and appreciation.
  5. Because parents are primarily responsible for education, it’s taking a backseat.

The webinar wrapped up with a reminder that webinars will be happening regularly till the online Children’s Media Conference in July. Further details available here.

Blog post by Lorna Partington, Freelance Copywriter & Editor

CMC 2020 Webinar Blog Event Reports