Toys and the Battle for Time

Those who work in the toy industry compete daily for revenue and profit. There is, however, another competition taking place—a battle for time in a child’s head.

In the 21st century, time is an essential commodity, particularly for children. Why? Because today’s children have more play options and less time to take advantage of them than at any time since the establishment of child labor laws.

Two years ago, I analyzed how many hours a 21st-century child works in a week. For my research, I defined a child’s work as anything assigned or overseen by an adult. Based on my calculations, a child works a 60-hour week.

They also, they play video games eat, sleep go on play dates, play soccer, learn karate, do their homework, visit with family, talk on the phone, watch YouTube, read, attend religions services, and Sunday School. When you add all that up, you can how little time children have for free, unsupervised play.

To get an idea how much time goes into alternatives for toys, consider video games. According to a report by Bonus Insider, they surveyed 1633 people last December to determine how much time children spend playing their favorite video games.

Below are the top 5. I wasn’t so much surprised by the games as I was by the amount of time people spent playing the them.

Rust Console Edition, 13.6 Hours per Week

ARK: Survival Evolved, 12.3 Hours per Week

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, 11.7 Hours per Week

NBA 2K23, 11.4 Hours per Week

EA SPORTS FIFA 23, 10.1 Hours per Week

Survey Reveals the Most Addictive PlayStation 5 Games According to Players,” David Sandler, Bonus Insider

So, how do toy companies secure a more significant share of a child’s time? One source of learning is the pandemic, which as horrible as it was (or is), was a net positive for the toy industry, particularly puzzles, games, and outdoor toys.

Families with no place to go stayed home and had to socialize with each other. One reason they didn’t kill each other is that toys and games became a distraction and a way to interact – and they were fun. As a result, products like games and puzzles took off like a rocket and are only now returning to earth.

So here is what I think – toys are good for families and families are good for toys. By linking the family and toys more closely together, we can generate more time for toys, not just with children but the entire family.

How do you suggest we fight for time?

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