Young People Spend More Time Online than Watching TV

I was a self –confessed TV addict as a child. When I wasn’t out pursuing my sporting and acting ambitions, life at home and especially at Christmas revolved around the Radio Times in Julia’s world. I’ve tried to curtail my love of the box in front of my children and from their birth we’ve taken a rational approach to what and when our children watch.

At the end of January 2016 it was announced via the BBC that a landmark has been reached in the viewing habits of 5-16 year olds in the UK. This is according to Childwise, who produce an annual media monitoring report and have been following children’s viewing habits since the mid 1990’s. The 2016 report findings have been described as a ‘tipping’ point with children switching from conventional TV to spending time online with an average 3 hours spent online a day compared with 2.1 hours watching television, rising to 4.8hours online in 15-16 yr olds.

This particular survey with more than 2000 children and young people looked at 5-16 yr olds and they found:

60% watch TV via a phone, tablet or laptop.

38% do most of their TV viewing on demand.

Among 15-16 yr olds less than 25% would typically watch TV as it is broadcast, they would rather see it on catch-up or on demand or through YouTube.

Among this group 32% had no favourite television programme. When I was this age everyone watched and talked about ‘Top of the Pops’.

Netflix came out on top as the favoured TV channel (50%) with ITV (47%) and BBC (46%) close behind. Children still preferred to watch TV on a television set to a mobile phone.

The most common way children access the internet is via a mobile phone. All the more reason why parents should seriously consider setting restrictions on their child’s devices. This link tells you how.

The study shows how much young people’s lives are immersed in online activity and computer devices and how these forms of media are overlapping.

I saw this picture on Facebook in 2015. It’s a sobering thought for those of us who are digital immigrants – born into the world pre-www. Today we face the challenge of balancing our children’s safe use of technology. young-children-tech

Looking to the future, if I was to write this blog in 40 years time opening with “I was a self-confessed internet addict as a child.”

I wonder if the latest child addiction will involve fresh air?


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