A new Kaspersky Safe Kids study has revealed what children were interested in during 2020 – 2021. Over the past year, their interest has grown in the categories of ‘software, audio and video’ and ‘e-commerce’, while ‘internet communication media’ and ‘computer games’ have slightly decreased. TikTok, YouTube, and WhatsApp are at the top of the most popular applications. At the same time, TikTok overtook Instagram with almost double the level of popularity.
2020 turned out to be one of the most unusual years for modern children. The pandemic has changed many common life situations across the globe, including education, meeting friends and family, recreation, and entertainment. Kaspersky analyzed anonymized 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.
The most popular website categories among children in the United Arab Emirates were ‘software, audio, video’ (50%) ‘internet communication media’ (21%), and ‘computer games’ (11%). Among the most popular apps, YouTube leads by a wide margin – the service remains the most popular video streaming service among children around the world. In second place is the messenger WhatsApp, and third is the popular video conferencing application, Zoom. The top list also includes games, such as 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% 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% of the queries. This 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%.
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. At the same time, TikTok remains the main musical trendsetter for children.
Cartoons account for half (50.21%) 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 the now-iconic Stranger Things.
TikTok remains the undisputed leader among children, but at the same time, the perception of the social network has begun to transform. Now it is no longer only a social network for clips and lip syncs, as more educational and creative content has begun to appear on the platform. At the same time, to create TikTok videos, one person has to do the work of the operator, actor, director, and the entire film crew. All this develops skills that can not only be useful for children in the future but could lead them to choose it as a profession.
For video games, those trending the most with children include Minecraft (22.84%), Fortnite (6.73%), Among Us (3.80%), Brawl Stars (6.34%) – which recently captured the attention of children and is very popular – and the much-loved Roblox game (3.82%). At the same time, the most frequently played game in the top 10 for almost all countries is Roblox. Of all the regions, it was children from Kazakhstan who became leaders in visiting sites devoted to computer games – 26.01%. In second place were children from the UK (19.40%). But we see a very different picture in India, where children hardly ever visited sites dedicated to video games from a PC (just 5.08%).
“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. Understanding and analyzing 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,” comments Anna Larkina, web content analysis expert at Kaspersky.
To ensure children have a positive online experience, Kaspersky recommends that parents:
- Learn more about your children’s interests.
- Surf and learn together. See where children spend their time online and explore how to best keep them safe.
- Explain that sensitive information should only be shared via messengers and only with people they know in real life.
- Consider downloading parental control apps and discuss this topic with your child to explain how such apps work and why they need them to stay safe online.
- Spend more time communicating with children about online safety measures. Tell your children what must not, under any circumstances, be published on the internet and why.
EVLAB Intros UAE’s First Electric Vehicle Marketplace App
EVLAB, the multi-brand electric vehicle start-up, has made adopting a sustainable lifestyle easier for drivers in the UAE with the launch of the EVLAB App, an all-in-one mobility app to rent, lease and host their EVs in the UAE with phase 2 to include buy and sell electric vehicles (EVs) available in the Middle East. EVLAB’s new one-stop marketplace app addresses a growing desire among consumers in the Middle East to make a switch to sustainable mobility solutions. Electric vehicle sales have seen rapid growth in the region, with an increase of 72 per cent during 2020 alone.
In line with the goals of COP28, EVLAB is committed to reducing CO2 emissions and fostering sustainable mobility in the Middle East, striving to play a pivotal role in catalyzing positive transformation. The new platform supports the UAE’s Net Zero 2050 strategic initiative, which is a national drive to achieve net-zero emissions and make the Emirates the first nation in the MENA region to do so. The app also complements other sustainability initiatives in the country, including the Dubai Green Mobility Strategy 2030, which has resulted in the installation of more than 1,000 public charging stations across the UAE.
The EVLAB App allows eco-conscious drivers to browse a unique collection of electric vehicle brands available in the Middle East and take advantage of EVLAB’s expertise to understand the benefits of electric vehicles and make a seamless transition to sustainable transportation. Drivers can consider short-term rentals, leasing or hosting their electric vehicles through a seamless and hassle-free user journey.
The booking process is straightforward with easy navigation using the rent, lease, host and chat tabs on the homepage. Users can filter options based on brand preferences and features, such as performance and range, to save time and effort in finding an electric vehicle that suits their requirements and budget. All the listed cars and their hosts are vetted to guarantee authenticity and quality of service by the owners. In phase 2, electric vehicle owners can also conveniently sell their vehicles on the platform with guidance from EVLAB’s experts at every step of the way.
“With the accelerated pace of climate change, the adoption and transition to e-mobility is inevitable. At EVLAB, our ongoing goal is to consistently reduce emissions, and we are proud to say that we have successfully saved a cumulative total of 76,174 kilograms of CO2 to date and will further reduce with the EVLAB app. The all-in-one EVLAB App complements our EVLAB website with a broader range of functionality and services to make the eco-mobility journey easier for drivers in the region. The app allows users to rent, lease and host their electric vehicles seamlessly in a safe and trusted marketplace. As battery technology is rapidly evolving, the range of electric vehicles today will become obsolete in two to three years, so this model of renting and leasing becomes more attractive than buying. Consumers will have the additional ease of choosing their preferred electric vehicle based on their budget and lifestyle by selecting from a variety of options, including performance, acceleration, range, and charging times,” said Kevin Chalhoub, CEO and Founder of EVLAB.
Snapchat Enhances MENA Creator Economy with Incentives and Features
Snap Inc. is actively contributing to the growth of the creator economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region through the introduction of new programs and features aimed at fostering sustainable businesses and audience engagement. Content creators on Snapchat, both established and emerging, are experiencing growth within the platform’s creator ecosystem. In the first quarter of 2023, Snapchat’s user-generated content platform, Spotlight, witnessed a notable 200% year-over-year increase in content viewing time, attracting over 350 million monthly active users.
Snapchat says this success is attributed to its provision of innovative content and revenue-sharing opportunities, transforming the platform into a profitable venture for creators of various levels. The monthly addressable reach of the MENA region on Snapchat continues to expand, with global daily active users increasing by 12% year-over-year to reach 406 million in the third quarter of 2023.
Julie Bogaert, Head of EMEA Talent Partnerships at Snap Inc., emphasises Snapchat’s commitment to supporting creators at every stage of their careers. The platform offers a range of programs and tools across Stories, Spotlight, and Discover, providing creators with the means to turn content creation into a full-time career. Creators value Snapchat for its unique reach, relevance, and revenue-generating capabilities.
Snapchat has introduced new monetisation programs, including the Stories revenue share program for creators with substantial followings and engagement metrics. This program seamlessly integrates ads within creators’ Stories, offering a consistent revenue source. Additionally, Snapchat encourages aspiring creators through the Spotlight reward program, providing increased rewards for top-performing content.
Recognising the importance of amplifying creators’ reach while maintaining authenticity, Snapchat now allows Snapchatters to post Public Stories, expanding their audience while preserving genuine connections. Public Stories provide insights into content performance and Story Replies, enhancing creator-audience engagement.
The expansion of creator content is evident across the platform, with features like Snap Map showcasing Stories and Spotlight Snaps. Creators can now tag locations in Spotlight Snaps, increasing exposure. The ability for Snapchatters to save favourite Stories to profiles enables them to explore new creators and engage more deeply with their preferred content.
Snapchat continues to roll out new tools for creators, providing more control over video replies with Spotlight Replies, the ability to react to and re-share Spotlight Snaps with Remix, and additional features such as adding Linktree to Public Profiles and incorporating sounds into Lenses. Overall, Snapchat remains a dynamic platform that empowers creators to express themselves and build thriving communities.
Sunbird Temporarily Closes Android iMessage App Citing ‘Security Concerns’
Sunbird, the app designed to bring iMessage to Android users, has temporarily halted its service due to “security concerns,” as initially reported by 9to5Google. In a communication to its users, Sunbird announced the decision to “pause Sunbird usage for now” while it investigates reports suggesting that its messages lack true end-to-end encryption.
Launched in 2022 with the aim of settling the blue versus green bubble debate, Sunbird has been accessible only to those who join its waitlist, emphasizing various privacy features such as end-to-end encryption, no message data collection, and an absence of ads. Last week, Sunbird joined forces with Nothing, the phone brand owned by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, for the release of Nothing Chats. The Sunbird-powered messaging service was intended to enable owners of the Phone 2 to send texts via iMessage. However, it was swiftly removed from the Google Play Store just one day after its launch.
While Nothing initially cited the need to address “several bugs” in the app, its removal coincided with a post from Texts.blog, revealing potential lapses in end-to-end encryption for messages sent via Sunbird. Android developer Dylan Roussel reached similar conclusions and also discovered that Sunbird stores numerous media files on the cloud service Firebase. This implies that Sunbird’s assertion of not storing data on its servers is only partially accurate, as the company seems to be externally dispatching the information.
Sunbird has yet to provide a statement regarding the app’s closure, but its message to users states, “We will update you when we are ready to proceed.” The app is no longer featured on the Google Play Store, despite being downloadable just last month, as seen in an archived version of the page.
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