UK children spend more time online than watching TV

Childwise reportChildren in the UK spent more time online than watching TV for the first time last year, marking a “major shift” in media use, according to new research.

The annual study from youth-focused market research agency ChildWise claims that children aged 5-16 now use the internet for an average of three hours a day, up from two hours a day a year earlier, and watch 2.1 hours of TV – roughly unchanged year-on-year.

YouTube has taken “centre stage” in children’s lives as where they turn to for entertainment, music, games, TV programmes and advice, with half using the site every day, according to the 2016 Childwise Monitor report.

For the first time last year, tablet devices also overtook laptops, PCs and netbooks as the main type of device that children have in their homes.

Some 79% of children now live in a house where they have access to a tablet, while 67% have their own device – up 50% year-on-year, according to the study.

“Growing access to the internet at any time and in any place, and a blurring of television content across channels and devices, brings a landmark change in behaviour this year. TV viewing has been redefined,” said Childwise research director, Simon Leggett.

“Children are now seeking out the content of their choice. They still find traditional TV programmes engaging but are increasingly watching them online and on-demand or binge watching box sets.”

Among kids who do go on YouTube, 58% were found to access music videos, 52% watch funny content and a third watch vlogs, games content or instructional videos.

The report found the most popular YouTubers to be: fashion and beauty vlogger Zoella; Minecraft vlogger TheDiamondMinecart; Zoella’s younger brother Joe Sugg; gaming vlogger KSI; and Stampy, another Minecraft vlogger.

ChildWise is an independent market research agency specialising in children and young people. The research was drawn from online surveys completed by more than 2,000 UK schoolchildren.

Tags: Childwise, UK, YouTube