Online overtakes TV as kids’ top pastime

The internet has overtaken television as the top media pastime for the UK’s children.

Ofcom Report 2016
Ofcom’s report on Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes, published recently, reveals that children’s internet use has reached record highs, with youngsters aged 5-15 spending around 15 hours each week online – overtaking time spent watching a TV set for the first time.



Even pre-schoolers, aged 3-4, are spending eight hours and 18 minutes a week online, up an hour and a half from six hours 48 minutes in the last year.

According to Ofcom’s data, children aged 5-15 have increased their weekly online time by an hour and 18 minutes in the last year to 15 hours.

In contrast, children are spending less time watching a TV set, with their weekly viewing dropping from 14 hours 48 minutes in 2015 to 13 hours 36 minutes in the last year.

YouTube is one of the most popular online destinations for children to watch content, with around three quarters (73%) of those aged 5-15 using the video site. It is also a hit with pre-schoolers with 37% regularly watching YouTube videos, who typically pick ‘TV content’ such as cartoons and mini-movies.

And older children are beginning to show a preference for YouTube with four in ten 8-11s and 12-15s saying they prefer watching YouTube than the TV set.

Despite this, Ofcom’s research shows that TV still plays an important role in children’s lives with nine in 10 still watching, generally every day, and the largest number of children watching at peak family viewing time, 6 – 9pm.

Digital childhood
Digital devices are more widespread among children than ever, including the very young. Today’s research finds that a third (34%) of pre-schoolers (aged 3-4) own their own media device – such as a tablet or games console.

Pre-schoolers typically enjoy digital entertainment on a tablet, with more than half (55%) using one, and 16% owning their own tablet – up from just 3% in 2013.

As children reach pre-to-early teenage years, they prefer smartphones to tablets – with the proportion of children owning one up from 35% to 41% in the last year. This means one in three tweens (8-11s), and eight in 10 older children (12-15s) now have their own smartphone.

As children spend more of their time online, their awareness of advertising and ‘vlogger’ endorsements has also increased with more than half of internet users aged 12-15 (55%) now aware that online advertising can be personalised - up 10 percentage points in the last year. And, 12-15s awareness of product endorsement from vloggers has also increased by 10 percentage points to 57% in 2016.

But, many children still need help to identify advertising on search engine Google with only a minority of 8-11s (24%) and 12-15s (38%) correctly recognising sponsored links.

Book at bedtime
Despite the importance of digital devices in children’s lives, Ofcom’s Digital Day research, also published recently, shows that reading is the third most popular activity with primary school aged children (62%) beating newer activities such as watching online video clips (47%), instant messaging (10%) and watching music videos (11%)5.

Staying safe online
More than nine in ten children aged 8-15 have had conversations with parents or teachers about being safe online, and would tell someone if they saw something they found worrying or nasty.

Parents of older children are most likely to be having these types of conversations with their children, with 92% of parents of 12-15s saying they have spoken to their child about online safety, an increase of six percentage points since 2015.

Nearly all parents (96%) of 5-15s manage their children’s internet use in some way – through technical tools, talking to or supervising their child, or setting rules about access to the internet and online behaviour. Two in five parents use all four approaches.

And, parents of children aged 5-15s are more likely to use network level filters in 2016 - up five percentage points to 31%7.

On the most part, families are in agreement that their child has a good balance between screen time and doing other activities. Most children aged 12-15 (64%), and parents of children of the same age (65%), believe this balance is about right.

Jane Rumble, Ofcom Director of Market Intelligence said: “Children’s lives are increasingly digital, with tablets and smartphones commanding more attention than ever. Even so, families are finding time for more traditional activities, such as watching TV together or reading a bedtime story.”

Click here to download the full Children and Parents: media use and attitudes report

Ofcom Online versus TV

Written by E-safety Support on November 24, 2016 10:35

Digital Kids Show 2016

Thousands of digitastic families set to descend on the Digital Kids Show this October half term at EventCity, Manchester


Digital Kids ShowIf you combine an awesome day out that teenagers and toddlers can enjoy with a much needed dose of coding, STEM, digital toys and e-safety advice, what do you get? THE DIGITAL KIDS SHOW!

On October 29th & 30th, thousands of Minecraft, gaming, YouTube loving children and parents will gather at EventCity for a day out like no other. Split across five zones, the event will showcase an unrivalled array of events and activities all included in the ticket price, making it one of the best value days out of the year.

There’s an awesome selection of child friendly games including a 40 Player MINECRAFT Hub, Gaming Bus, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Retro Gaming and the latest Virtual Reality to keep fans of all things futuristic entertained.

Dads will love the Ferrari F1 Simulator and Bandai Namco’s Project Cards on Oculus Rift will bring out the Lewis Hamilton in anyone! There are prizes for the fastest lap in the next generation Scalextric Arc Air family tournament and if that’s not enough car action, 5 -17 year olds can take part in driving lessons in REAL cars – great fun and an amazing way to instil road safety from an early age.

Everyone dreams of launching the next big thing and if you are a budding app inventor or engineer then this is the show for you. The show has lots of activities to ignite the imagination and parents can get involved with kids as they get creative with robots, coding workshops and STEM toys and prepare them to be wowed by the cool Science Shows in our purpose built Explorer Dome.

E-Safety and Anti-Bullying workshops from the Diana Award and Internet Matters are an essential part of the show to help you keep your kids safe online and inspire them to be responsible digital citizens. Meet our friends from YouTube Kids and CBBC who’ve got some awesome surprises for our Digital Kids.

The Digital Kids Show also features some of the UK’s biggest YouTubers including LDShadowLady, AmyLee33, Ashdubh, Tomohawk, SmallishBeans & EthanGamerTV amongst others. They will be doing Meet & Greets and live shows on the stage. They will be joined by CBBC favourites Dick & Dom and BGT Finalists Mythical PSM and Boogie Storm!

Commenting on the event Aisha Tilstone said: “The Digital Kids Show is set to be the highlight of the October half term. We have everything every gamer needs to know right now and an insight from some of the industry’s leading lights. Even if gaming isn’t your thing it’s set to be an amazing day out for all the family. There’s so much on offer for everyone and the leading Minecraft players are sure to be a hit as they will be meeting fans and telling them all about the secret of their success. There is also an underlying message of Internet safety with a specific zone dedicated to it. This comes on the back of a recent report from OFCOM* which highlighted that there has been a fall 2015-2014 from 83% to 78% in the number of parents who trust their children to use the internet safely.”

The Digital Kids Show will be taking place 29th and 30th October at Event City. Visit www.digitalkidsshow.co.uk to find out more.

Written by E-safety Support on October 13, 2016 08:52

Digital Parenting

Before the Internet, parents felt that they had some control of who their children communicated with. Many houses had one phone and parents felt confident that they knew who their children were talking to.

The web has changed this and parents find it difficult to keep track of the multiple accounts and Apps that their child is using. The development of technology means that children and young people can easily speak to strangers and access inappropriate content.

This is why digital parenting is such an important skill today as children need to be given rules about how much ‘screen time’ they are allowed in a day, what type of Apps they are allowed to download and most importantly the risks of talking to people online.

There is often an argument that children and young people are ‘digitally savvy’ and that they can run circles around their parents when it comes to technology. This may be true with many families, however they do lack the life experience and wisdom that makes them more vulnerable to potential grooming by others on the Internet.

So what can parents do? In the first instance, it is important that they communicate with their children about what they are doing on the Internet. Children cannot be monitored 24/7and as they grow older into their teenage years, there has to be an element of trust and independence, so that if something did happen, then they would be able to tell their parents.

Secondly, parents need to upscale their knowledge and look at sites which help them to filter and put parental controls on devices. On Christmas morning, after the presents have been opened, children will ask how you work certain toys and parents will look at the instruction booklet for help. As many devices don’t specifically come with advice on parental controls, this is where sites such as http://www.internetmatters.org/ comes in handy to look at setting controls on specific devices.

Finally, we must try and teach our children the rules about being safe when using technology and the Internet. When they are very young, we highlight safe ways to cross the road and to be careful near deep water. In the digital age, this now must be extended to enjoying the Internet, but doing it in a safe way.



Coming Soon: Our new parent online training course will be available soon. The new course will look at how children and young people use technology and the Internet, develop parent knowledge and understanding of the digital world and support them in becoming a better ‘digital parents’. Log into your E-safety Support dashboard to preview the existing staff and governor training courses and to check for product updates.

Written by Tim Pinto on May 05, 2016 12:58


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