Monday, March 31, 2008

Let's go surfing now, everybody's learning how...

...come on and safari with me

With apologies to the Beach Boys, the surfing I mean is web surfing. The Toy Industry of American announced the results of a survey of online activity amongst kids. According to their press release, "gaming is the primary activity driving the online experiences of all kids ages 2 to 14, with 76 percent of all kids on the Internet drawn to social and gaming sites, and education sites rivaling the attention of Tweens (9-12) and Young Teens (13-14)."

"More than one-quarter (28%) of kids who use social gaming/entertainment (SGE) sites have purchased either a physical item or digital content from these sites."

According to the release, "Moms are clearly instrumental in guiding their child’s online experience, and moms are the gatekeeper even for older kids, illustrating the importance of earning mom’s trust. The report cites examples of the site attributes that are trusted by moms and well as key values, with educational topping the list. "

What does this have to do with stores like ours that sell physical toys? Well, the success of toys like Webkinz that offer a physical toy along with online content - and the plethora of knock-offs aimed at that same market suggest that toys with some kind of access to web content could become more popular.

I dunno, I can't imagine kids getting all excited during Holiday gift-giving unwrapping an exclusive web code that allows a virtual toy ability to get some kind of virtual gift. Plus, IMHO, things like Webkinz limit the ability of a child to play creatively - they are somewhat forced into playing how the online game says they can play. Toys like Lego's are wonderful because they allow the child to build exactly according to the instructions or totally ignore the instructions and build whatever they want. Is this the future of the toy industry? I hope not.

You can check out the press release here. The entire report is available to purchase from the TIA people.

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