Sorry, iPad, kids still like their handheld consoles more than you

It may feel like everywhere you look a baby is playing on an iPad (or is that just me?), but the truth is that kids are still far more likely to have a Nintendo 3DS or a PlayStation Vita.

According to a study by market-research company The NPD Group, children ages 4 to 14 still spend most of their consumer-electronics time with dedicated gaming machines. Media tablets, however, experienced the highest rate of growth from 2011 to 2012, with a 13 percent boost this year compared to 3 percent in the previous period.

“Kids are using tablets to game, watch movies and TV shows, read books, and listen to music,” said senior vice president of industry analysis for The NPD Group, Russ Crupnick. “They have embraced the utility of these devices quite rapidly.” Meanwhile, my VCR is still blinking “12:00.”

The study discovered that while older kids are likely to spend more of their time with computers and video games, tablet use is the highest on the younger side of the spectrum. That makes sense, as young kids always seem to want to play with the thing their parents are holding.

Kids are still most likely to own a portable gaming system than a tablet. If Apple does introduce a smaller, less expensive iPad this year (as is rumored), expect the gap between tablet and handheld console to tighten considerably.

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