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Apple has recently updated its iPad range with the release of new iPad Air and iPod Mini tablets. And while the company has recently experienced lukewarm tablet sales, this decision evidently reflected the fact that Apple recognises the importance of tablet computing going forward. And this has been very much underlined by recent research carried out by the British organisation Ofcom.

The Office of Communications in the UK, more commonly known as Ofcom, effectively operates as a government approved watchdog for the broadcast industry. Ofcom has recently carried out a survey on young people’s computer usage in the United Kingdom, a study which produced intriguing results.

Young People Favour Tablets

Ofcom’s report suggested that although the millennial generation favours mobile as a key computing device, tablets are particularly popular among the younger generation. In fact, twice as many British children aged between the ages of five and fifteen preferred to use a tablet to go online than either a laptop or desktop computer. This is reflected in the fact that 34 percent of those under the age of fifteen in the UK already own their own tablet computer.

Even infants are getting in on the tablet craze. More than one in ten of British children aged between the ages of three and four already own their own tablet. The 11 percent total is a rapid increase in a short period of time; the same figure was only 3 percent in 2013.

In line with this youthful technological ownership, children are spending an increasing amount of time surfing the Internet, playing games and watching a variety of video clips on tablet computers. The number of children watching television shows via a tablet increased by 20 percent in just 12 months, while one in three children in the UK watch on demand TV via a tablet.

Despite the emergence of competing online mediums, television consumption among children remains high. Although tablets are utilised with increasing regularity by young people, they still hold television in high regard. 34 percent of children survey by Ofcom indicated that they would miss television more than any other device should they have to manage without one. This contrasted with tablet computers, which were only considered an absolute key device in the same statistic by 15 percent of children.

Don't Write Television Off

Although many young people in the UK are seemingly engaged in a wide variety of digital media activities, watching television remains an incredibly popular pastime. Children aged between five and 15 years old spend more time watching TV every week (14.6 hours) than any other media activity. It is evident that although the media and entertainment landscape is evolving, television still has a significant place in the hearts and minds' of young people.

Aside from these figures, there are also gender differences with regard to the way that media is consumed. Girls aged between twelve and fifteen are particularly keen on sending text messages, and in fact send approximately 40 percent more than boys of the same age. They also make 30 percent more mobile phone calls, and nearly half of the girls surveyed (47 percent) in this age bracket cite their mobile phones as the device they would miss most. This was significantly more than boys (29 percent).

Girls of this age are also more likely to miss a tablet computer should the device cease to be available to them, with 16 percent stating that this would be the device they would miss most. This was nearly double the same figure (9 percent) for boys.

There was less divergences on social media, with the Ofcom survey indicating that both boys and girls are equally active on social media. However, it is worth noting that girls much prefer Instagram, with the photograph-sharing social media site acquiring a 42 percent approval rate with females, as opposed to a mere 30 percent rate with males. Snapchat and Tumblr also find particular favour with girls.

By contrast, YouTube is the social platform which is most popular with boys. 29 percent of twelve to fifteen year-old boys use the video sharing site on a regular basis, nearly double the number of girls who are active on YouTube (29 percent).

Digital Media Tastes Evolving

Overall, the study paints an interesting picture of the evolution of media consumption and device usage. It is essential for travel marketers and destinations to understand the necessity of adapting content to each of these favoured devices. Merely covering every base will not be good enough; content needs to be carefully cultivated and directed at appropriate audience demographics using suitable social media outlets.

The younger generation is extremely tech savvy, and increasingly focused on visual content. This is underlined by the growing significance and popularity of image and video-based social media. Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr are all attracting a significant following.

Marketers need to understand this younger generation which will be morphing into its key demographic in the coming years. Developing content which is in line with the desires and preferences of this younger generation will be increasingly important in the coming years.

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