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 11:32

Report shows surge in tablet and computer use among pre-schoolers

The latest figures from the CHILDWISE Monitor Pre-school Report show that 73% of children under five use tablet computers and phones – up from 27% in 2012.


Father and son on tabletBy the age of two, most children are now using these devices, with access not far off universal by the age of four.

“Pre-schoolers appear to have rapidly adopted the tablet. It has quickly emerged as a most-wanted device for children, even among the very young – and parents have encouraged this,” says Childwise research manager Jenny Ehren.

Childwise is a leading, independent research specialist in children and young people. This latest report examines the media and purchasing behaviour of pre-school children and their parents.

Findings include…

  • The average session on a tablet or computer lasts around one and a half hours.
  • The average time pre-schoolers spend watching TV has increased again this year, with levels higher than ever before. Under-5s watch more than two and half hours per day.
  • On-demand services are surging in popularity with Youtube most popular.
  • Using apps has become a mainstream activity for pre-school children this year. More than half use an app of some kind.

    More than a quarter of pre-schoolers have their own computer or tablet, according to the new data. One in two use a mobile phone. The number using apps has soared since 2012 with more than half now using them.

    “Parents consider tablets and the games and apps on them, as a great way to keep small children entertained and provide a learning benefit. The length of an average session is testament of parent’s approval, with toddlers typically entertained for around one and half hours at a time,” says Jenny Ehren.

    Greater access to on-demand services is undoubtedly a contributory factor in the length of these sessions, along with the creative world of games and applications. One in six pre-schoolers also use a tablet or computer to video call family and friends, using applications such as Skype and FaceTime.

    The report shows how pre-school children and their parents are increasingly focusing their viewing attention towards on-demand services. Three out of five households now use these to some extent.

    This generation of children is growing up with the internet’s new mode of serving and searching for content, and they can decide what they want to watch and when. By age 3-4, the majority are using these services to access their favourite TV shows.

    Pre-schoolers account for around a third of all children under the age of 16 and are an important demographic, both in terms of numbers and because these are their earliest years, when patterns of behaviour and attitudes are first established.

    Studies have previously shown the older the child, the greater the likelihood that they will own and use computers, smartphones and the internet. However, this new report breaks the traditional correlation previously seen between increasing age and device ownership.

    By four most youngsters are self-sufficient on a tablet or computer and a significant minority are becoming independent players across the spectrum of mobile phones, TV and the internet.

    The annual CHILDWISE Pre-School Report talks to more than 1000 parents of 0-4 year olds, asking about their children’s media use and parents’ spending habits.

  • Written by E-safety Support on October 15, 2015 13:30

    Trend spotting at Bett

    Bett ShowDuring last week’s Bett Show, we took the opportunity to take a look at the education trends that were emerging from an e-safety perspective.

    Unsurprisingly, by far the biggest trend is that of using portable devices and Apps to support education and learning. There were over 500 online resources on show along with hundreds of devices including BYOD, tablets, touch-screens, webcams and a host of Apps too – the list goes on.

    With all this access to technology and the Internet, it’s easy to get swept along with the shiny new gadgets and flash Apps to help engage students in and out of the classroom – anything that supports this should of course be encouraged.

    But with all this change in the way we teach and learn it’s vital to remember that e-safety should come as part and parcel of any new technology we choose to use with students. That’s not necessarily to say that new devices should prohibit certain websites for example, but that we should be aware of any potential risks we place in front of students. Does a new App allow users to engage with each-other? If so, do we know who the other users are? Can the activity be monitored? And so on.

    We should always know the pros and cons and make students conscious of them too before integrating new technology into the classroom. That said, there were some great examples on show that combine new technology with good e-safety practice.

    If you have encountered good or bad examples of devices or Apps that you would like to share with fellow teachers, please let us know by using the comment form below.

    Written by E-safety Support on January 30, 2014 11:40


    Join E-safety Support

    • Protect your pupils
    • Support your teachers
    • Deliver outstanding practice

    Recent Stories
    Story Tags
    addiction anti_bullying_alliance anti-radicalisation apps ask.fm assembly avatars awards bett Breck_Foundation bug bullying BYOD calendar cber_bullying censorship ceop checklist child child_exploitation childline childnet child_protection childwise ClassDojo classroom competition cookies CPD creepshot CSE curriculum cyberbullying cyber_bullying cyber_crime cybersmile_foundation cybersurvey DCMS development devices DfE digital_citizenship digital_footprint digital_forensics digital_leaders digital_literacy digital_native digital_reputation digital_wellbeing eCadets education e-learning emoticon e-safe esafety e-safety e-safety, e-safety_support #esscomp #esstips ethics exa exploitation extreemism extremism extremism, facebook fantastict fapchat FAPZ film filtering freemium friendly_wifi gaming #GetSafeOnline glossary GoBubble gogadgetfree google governor grooming #GSODay2016 guidance hacker hacking icon information innovation inspection instragram internet internet_matters internet_of_things internet_safety into_film ipad iphone ipod irights IWF language leetspeak lesson like linkedin malware mental_health mobile monitor monitoring naace navigation neknominate netiquette network news NHCAW nomophobia nspcc NWG ofcom offline ofsted omegle online online_safety oracle parents phishing phone Point2Protect policy pornography power_for_good pressure PREVENT primary privacy professional_development protection PSHE #pupilvoiceweek ratting rdi reporting research risk robots safeguarding safer_internet_day safety SCD2015 #SCD2016 school sdfsdf security self-harm selfie sexting sextortion ShareAware sid SID SID2016 SID2017 smartphone snapchat snappening social_media social_media, social_networking staff staff_training #standuptobullying statutory_guidance Stop_CSE stop_cyberbullying_day stress students survey swgfl SWGfL tablet teach teachers technology texting tootoot training TrainingToolz troll trolling twitter UKCCIS uk_safer_internet_centre UK_youth unplug2015 virus webinar website we_protect what_is_e-safety wifi wi-fi windows wizard yik_yak young_people youthworks youtube YPSI
    Archive