According to a new Kaspersky Safe Kids study, WhatsApp is now the most visited app by children in Nigeria, followed by YouTube and Zoom.
Kaspersky analysed data including search queries, the most popular Android applications and website categories provided by users to establish how children surfed the internet from May 2020 till April 2021.
WhatsApp overtakes Facebook as the most popular app among kids in the country. For 2019-20, Facebook (84%) was the most used app, with WhatsApp (61%) and Instagram (37%) coming in second and third respectively.
The most popular website categories among children in Nigeria as of April were ‘software, audio, video’ (49%), ‘internet communication media’ (20%) and ‘computer games’ (14%).
E-learning fuels kids’ WhatsApp usage
The shift towards digital technologies for entertainment, learning and communication post-COVID-19 evidently drove up WhatsApp’s usage among Nigerian kids.
Enforced lockdowns and mobility restrictions meant that several kids could no longer go to school and had to keep learning via platforms such as WhatsApp and Zoom.
Unlike WhatsApp which lets users make voice and video calls, the Facebook mobile app and mobile website don’t support audio or video calls. Calls can only be made using the Facebook desktop website.
Moreover, many edtech platforms provide WhatsApp chatbots for e-learning. Invariably, children relied more on WhatsApp to use these features compared to Zoom, which consumes more data and requires a later Android version (v5.0 and above).
Beyond online education, children in the country sought remote video entertainment predominantly through YouTube.
Kenya tops kids’ internet activity in Africa
Kenyan children spent the most time on internet websites and mobile apps during the year ending April 2021. Kids in the East African country spent the most time on YouTube and Zoom.
Children in Kenya spent 51.27% share of time on the YouTube app out of the total time they spent on the 10 most popular apps in the country. They were also the most active Zoom users on the continent.
This is perhaps a direct consequence of Kenya’s internet penetration of (85.2%) – the highest in Africa, according to Statista.
Cartoons account for half (50.21%) of all video searches by children around the world.
Globally, TikTok, YouTube, and WhatsApp are at the top of the most popular applications used by kids.
The fact that Nigerian kids are using WhatsApp to a greater extent than Facebook shows that many are accessing the internet through their parents’ smartphones.
A typical smartphone costs about N10,000 and Nigerians have to pay around N6,000 for a fairly used one. With over 80 million Nigerians earning less than 38% of the N30,000 minimum wage, N6,000 is quite an expensive amount in that context.
Sharing internet gadgets like smartphones reflects the weak purchasing power of parents in the country. Data from Pew Research Centre estimates that only 32% of Nigerians use smartphones, a product of low affordability.
The current trend is poised to continue as many people deal with the economic impacts of the pandemic and rising inflation.
Featured Image: Wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock
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