According to the New York Times, kids are not kids as long as they used to be. There is an “age compression” happening fueled by the internet.
This has created havoc for channels such as Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. The Times says that these more progressive and curious kids can more easily turn to YouTube to find people their own age or like them.
This not only changes how you talk to kids, but how you talk with parents about their kids. Television shows and marketing messaging are dramatically changing in this tech-driven, high-awareness audience cluster.
Disney has developed a moped-riding character, Andi Mack (who has to deal with some complex life experiences), in order to appeal to 6- to 14-year-olds and their parents. Some of these issues would not have seen prime time 20 years ago. The problem is that these kids may be watching the “Walking Dead” or the “Die Hard” trilogy with their parents.
It’s getting difficult to program to these children, much less market toys for this more mature, pre-teen demographic. You also cannot offend the parents that may have memories of their own childhoods ruminating in their heads.
First it was the family that has been more difficult to portray as the typical family in marketing. Now it is the children. This makes storytelling more difficult, but more in line with their parents. Kids are growing up faster. The marketing needs to grow just as fast.