Tablet use among children in the UK has more than tripled in the last year, as the proportion of those with a TV in their bedroom has fallen, according to a new Ofcom study.
The Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report claims that the use of tablets among five to 15 year-olds now stands at 42%, up from 14% last year, with 28% of infants aged three to four also now using a tablet at home.
At the same time, the number of children with a TV in their bedroom dropped to 52% compared with 59% last year, while 47% said they had a games console in their bedroom, down from 56% a year earlier.
In spite of this, children aged 5-15 said that overall they spend more time watching television than using other media and that it is the medium that they would miss most among all the activities they regularly undertake.
Children are also now more likely to watch programmes on devices other than a TV, such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Some 45% of children aged 5-15 are doing so, up from 34% last year, said Ofcom.
“Children’s preference for internet-enabled devices reflects changes in how younger people are going online. While the usability of tablets appears to meet younger children’s entertainment needs, particularly for watching audio-visual content and playing games, older children mainly use smartphones to communicate,” said Ofcom.
Among children aged 12 to 15, some 62% said they own a smartphone – unchanged since last year – though 26% now own a tablet computer, up from just 7% last year. Among those aged eight to 11, just 18% now own a smartphone, the same proportion as a tablet.