SmartyPants, a youth and family research company, has compiled their annual Young Love list, a ranking of the brands that kids love most. The results are, for the most part, predictable. Video games, junk food and a certain cable television channel rank in the top five beloved brands for kids ages 6 to 12.
But the 4,500 children and parents surveyed had a few surprises to reveal, including the surging popularity of a brand that is a no-no for young kids.
For the second year in a row, Nintendo’s Wii ranked as the most loved brand by kids ages 6 to 12. McDonald’s took the number two spot away from Nintendo DS, which still made a nice showing at number 6.
But while M&M’s, Disney Channel and Oreo rounded out the top five spots, further down the list is a disturbing trend. Facebook, which is verboten for children under 13, saw a large jump in brand affinity with kids who aren’t even old enough to be there. Overall, Facebook jumped 85 positions since last year and, for kids ages 9 to 12, made it to the top 100.
What’s up with that? Wynne Tyree, founder and president of Smarty Pants, says she was as surprised as anyone else to see the social networking site gain such popularity among younger kids.
We see kids Facebook-ing their friends, parents, teachers and coaches everyday as we study families, but even we were surprised by the dramatic shift in Facebook’s ranking, We were amazed to see the brand beat out kid favorites like Barbie, Club Penguin and Harry Potter. It reminds us that – for better and worse – kids are part of the contemporary adult conversation.
That’s right. Facebook beat Barbie and Harry Potter. What is the world coming to?
Other interesting tidbits:
- YouTube, which is another iffy destination for young kids, dropped from #36 in 2009 to #86 in 2010.
- Silly Bandz and Scholastic both made the list for the first time, debuting at #82 and #83 respectively.
- After McDonald’s, the most popular restaurant was Pizza Hut (#29), followed by Wendy’s (#36) and Subway (#47).
But back to the Facebook ranking. I know that there are some parents who think there’s nothing wrong with a younger child lying about his or her age in order to establish a Facebook account. Others, however, are opposed to it but find themselves unable to stand up to the pressure and eventually cave and let their kids go where they don’t belong.
What about you? At what age do you think a child should be allowed on Facebook?
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