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Online overtakes kids’ TV viewing

This year has seen a major shift in UK children’s media use with time spent online overtaking TV viewing for the first time ever, according to the 2016 Childwise Monitor Report.

Tablet ownership also soared this year – up by 50 per cent from last year. Just six years after the UK release of the iPad, tablets have swept into children’s lives, with two in three (67 per cent) now having their own device.

The new data shows that YouTube has taken centre stage in children’s lives this year to become the place they turn to for entertainment, music, games, TV programmes, instruction and advice. Half use the site every day, almost all do so on occasion.

The majority of children who use YouTube visit the site to access music videos (58 per cent). Around half of users keep themselves entertained with funny content on YouTube (52 per cent). Around a third watch gaming content, vlogs/blogs, TV programmes or ‘how to’ videos.

Children are also going online more in their bedrooms. Three in four children (73 per cent) can now access the Internet in their room, up from two in three (63 per cent) last year.

The 2016 Childwise Monitor is a comprehensive annual report looking at five to 16-year-olds media consumption, purchasing and social habits as well as key behaviour. More than 2000 children in schools across the UK completed in-depth online surveys for the report.

“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,” says Simon Leggett, Research Director from Childwise.

“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.”

This year, for the first time, tablet devices have overtaken laptops/PCs/netbooks as the main type of computer that children have in their homes. Four in five children (79 per cent) now live in a house with a tablet device in it. This is a significant rise from just three in five (61 per cent) last year. Findings of the report also include:

  • A new mental health section in Childwise Monitor 2016 reveals most children are happy but there is a small number for whom this is not the case. By age 11-16 one in 10 boys and one in six girls are not happy and feel life is worse than it was a year ago.
  • Zoella was the top vlogger, especially among girls with 15 per cent naming her as their favourite. Her appeal is highest among 11-12 year olds. Minecraft vlogger TheDiamondMinecart, younger brother of Zoella Joe Sugg, gaming vlogger KSI and further Minecraft vlogger Stampy were the next most popular.
  • Little Mix top the chart this year as the most popular artist, with 5 per cent choosing them up from 1 per cent last year. One Direction fall to third most popular after three years of being children’s top pick.
  • 63 per cent of children own their own mobile phone with an average monthly spend of £12.
  • A further fall in book reading for pleasure with the majority (53 per cent) reading for half an hour or less per day. 8 per cent of children read magazines every day compared to 11 per cent last year.
  • Children’s total spending power in the UK is £7.5 million per year. Regular pocket money continues to fall and children are increasingly likely to receive ad hoc handouts

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