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Australia: Kids spend more time online than watching TV

Australian kids now spend more time using the Internet than watching television, Roy Morgan’s Young Australians Survey shows – but when it comes to at-home entertainment, TV still reign, for now.

Today’s Australian kids aged six to 13 spend an average of almost 12 hours a week using the Internet, almost double the six-and-a-bit hours a week kids spent online in 2008. Including all internet use at home, school or elsewhere, the time spent online has risen consistently over the period, increasing by an average 42 minutes each year.

Over the past eight years, rising internet use has taken time away from watching television—and in 2016 overtook it as the more time-consuming media among kids. In 2008, the average Australian youngster spent over 14.5 hours a week in front of the box; by 2016, this had declined to 10.5 hours.

However, as Roy Morgan has previously reported among Australians 14-plus, a fair comparison means looking just at what kids spend their time doing when at home. Almost 30 per cent of kids’ internet usage is done outside the home, at school or elsewhere (when television isn’t as an option).

At home, kids spend just almost eight and a half hours a week using the Internet – still around two hours less than they spend watching TV.

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, comments:  “As of last year, Aussie kids now spend more time each week using the Internet than watching television.  However, not including the hours spent online while at school or out and about, TV remains the more popular medium at home. The trend indicates that it could be a few years yet before kids are spending more of their quality home-time in front of computer (or tablet or mobile) than the television.  The Internet is taking time away from TV in large part because it’s what many kids now treat as television. Watching online videos is the most common internet activity, something two-thirds of kids do in an average four weeks. Almost one in four kids say YouTube is their number one favourite website.”

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