A new generation of digitally-aware 8-14 year olds has been identified in the biggest ever pan-European study of tweens. These children, who have never known a world without the internet, and who in turn have a heightened awareness of their future and that of the planet, have been labeled Generation XD – the Digital children of Generation X.
Named ‘Generation XD’ and commissioned by Disney as part of ongoing research for the new kids TV channel Disney XD, the study interviewed over 3,000 8-14 year-olds in six countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain). The results shatter many myths about children’s relationship with the internet and attitudes towards the family and celebrity culture.
Fundamentally different to previous generations due to its digital upbringing, Generation XD – children born between 1995 and 2001 to parents of Generation X – has witnessed more technological developments than any other generation and never known life without digital entertainment, mobile phones or social media channels.
Victoria Hardy, Executive Director, EMEA Research, Disney Channels, commented: “As we enter a new decade, the XD report redefines the popular image of today’s tweens and shows them as a positive, community-minded generation who uses the technology that surrounds them to make a positive impact on their lives and the world around them.”
The study reveals the following trends as a consequence of this unprecedented connectedness:
– Digital Generation – while completely at ease with technology, XDs use it to enhance rather than replace face to face social interaction
— Face to face contact is still the most preferable way to meet up with friends (30%) over and above texting (15%), online chat (14%) and mobile (8%)
— 95% feel that the internet and computers are important to them
— 53% feel the internet improves their life by helping them talk to their friends outside school
— 44% say the internet makes it easier to stay in touch with friends
— Homework (59%) scores second only to gaming (74%) for most common uses of the internet
– Mini-Preneurs – despite the credit crunch, which is in part a result of the credit-and-debt culture of Generation X before them, XDs are establishing good financial habits early
— 70% are saving their pocket money rather than spending it immediately
— 64% of XDs would much rather work for themselves than for someone else when they grow up
– Generation Aspiration – despite the celebrity dominated environment that XDs have grown up in, they have strong family values and aspire to traditional vocations rather than the pursuit of fame
— The top five future professions are vet, teacher, footballer, doctor and police officer
— Topping the poll in every single country as the person they admire most in the world is mum at 43%, with dad coming second at 30%
– Green Tweens – Generation XD say caring for the environment is important
— 97% of XDs believe it is important to look after the planet, with 74% already recycling regularly
Tom Dunmore, Consulting Editor, Stuff said: “As the kids of Generation X, who embraced all mod cons in their twenties, you’d expect Generation XD to be fully versed in how the internet can help them. What’s interesting though, is how they are embracing both cutting edge technology and traditional family values in their approach to life. While David Beckham does inevitably get a mention, fame and celebrity are secondary to family and they aspire to be vets and teachers rather than singers and celebrities, which is both surprising and encouraging. Indeed, Generation XD is remolding the traditional definition of youth as we know it”.
Concluded Victoria Hardy: “Generation XD kids have a heightened understanding of socio-economic issues, deep family values and are already demonstrating behavioural patterns that will have a deep impact on the future. As the world leader in family entertainment, Disney invests heavily to ensure we continue to understand our audience, to help us produce content that is aspirational for them and, critically, that is available when and where they want it in their digital universe, both of which are central to Disney XD.”
Disney XD is a boy-focused, girl-inclusive TV channel for kids aged 6-14 – the first of its kind in the world – which launched in UK in August 2009. It features a compelling mix of live-action and animated programming, hyper-targeting boys and their quest for discovery, accomplishment, sports, adventure, music and humour. Find out more at (www.disneyxd.co.uk).