YouTube is the most popular video streaming service among children globally, according to a study by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

A new Kaspersky Safe Kids study delved into what children were interested in online during 2020 - 2021. It analysed anonymised data, such as search queries, the most popular Android applications and website categories requested voluntarily provided by Kaspersky Safe Kids users, to explore how the interests and needs of children have changed under the new conditions.

YouTube was the top choice among the most popular apps. WhatsApp came in second place, followed by short video platform TikTok. The top 10 apps also included four games- Brawl Stars, Roblox, Among US and Minecraft.

Children are very active in listening to and watching music videos on YouTube – its share is 17.35 per cent in searches for music genres and videos. A number of ‘trend’ videos were also visible in the statistics – ‘pop it and simple dimple’ and ‘ASMR’ account for 4.43 per cent of the queries, the report said.

Apart from this, over the past year, requests related to the video game maker Gacha Life also stood out in the top ratings of children from all over the world with a share of 4 per cent.

In terms of the types of websites children visit, the most popular categories were ‘software, audio, video’ (44.38 per cent), ‘internet communication media’ (22.08 per cent) and ‘computer games’ (13.67 per cent).

A significant number of visitors to software, audio and video websites in South Asia were from India, with 54.91 per cent, nearly three percentage points more than the next largest contributor.

Children in India visit video platforms from PCs more often than children in other countries. It also came in fourth in terms of time spent on the YouTube mobile app, with 37.34 per cent. Children in the United Arab Emirates and India were the most active Zoom users, with 8.40 per cent and 5.96 per cent respectively. Facebook gained popularity among children in Egypt (10.08 per cent), Mexico (5.9 per cent) and India (2.87 per cent)

Popular content

When it comes to music tastes, alongside traditional leaders like K-POP bands BTS and BLACKPINK, singers Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and Travis Scott, another musical genre, like ‘phonk’ became popular. There is also a trend towards ‘creative’ videos – more and more requests for beats, samples and lessons on creating music in various programs began to appear at the top of the list, the report added. TikTok remained the primary musical trendsetter for children.

In terms of videos, cartoons accounted for 50.21 per cent of all video searches by children around the world. The most popular ones are Lady Bug and Super Cat, Gravity Falls and Peppa Pig. In second place were various TV shows – the most frequent search in English was The Voice Kids.

In movies and TV series, the most popular trailers were Godzilla vs Kong, Zach Snyder's recent Justice League and the Disney+ mini-series WandaVision. Netflix also continues to attract the attention of more kids – the most frequent requests via the platform were for Cobra Kai and Stranger Things.

Minecraft (22.84 per cent), Fortnite (6.73 per cent), Among Us (3.80 per cent) and Brawl Stars (6.34 per cent) were the most popular video games among children along with Roblox game (3.82 per cent). The most frequently played game in the top 10 for almost all countries is Roblox.

“Modern children grow up with gadgets in their hands from a very young age, so they adapt to the digital space and master new technologies much faster. We see how TikTok has become one of the main trendsetters among children in a short time and continues to keep their attention. At the same time, YouTube hasn’t lost ground and remains the leader in popularity among children, in part due to the huge variety of videos, ranging from ‘let-plays’, documenting the playthrough of a video game, to educational lectures and clips,” said Anna Larkina, web content analysis expert at Kaspersky.

“Understanding and analysing the interests of children on the internet helps us to pay attention to the issue of safety. By knowing what kind of music, a child listens to, who their favorite bloggers are or what games they play, parents can strengthen their trusted relations with kids. For instance, they could film a TikTok video together. This will also let parents help their kids to protect themselves from potential hazards online,” added Larkina.