UK kids spend more time online than with TV; 41% own smartphones

A new report from British telecom regulator Ofcom says that – for the first time ever – kids are spending more time online than watching television weekly.

The report said five- to 15-year-olds in the past year have increased their Internet time by some 79 minutes to 15 hours a week. Almost all of that time came at the expense of television. Young viewers in the past year spent 72 minutes less time with the television, and now average 13 hours and 36 minutes.

The report, Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes, said even younger viewers are showing similar traits, with three- and four-year olds spending 90 minutes a week more online, a total of eight hours and 18 minutes.

About three-quarters of five- to 15-year olds use YouTube for video content, along with 37% of younger users.

“Children are watching a wide range of content, with the TV set becoming an increasingly important focus for family time and children using portable devices for more focused, solitary viewing,” Ofcom reported

Ofcom said SVOD and AVOD viewing by children was up over 2014, and pointed out that children owned a media device (tablet of game console), including more than a third of 3-4 year olds and 8-11 year olds, and some 80% of 12-15 year olds. More than half of pre-school children (55%) use a tablet to watch content, and 16% own a tablet, up from 3% in 2013.

Older children prefer smartphones, with Ofcom saying 41% own one, up from 35% in the past year.

“Children’s lives are increasingly digital, with tablets and smartphones commanding more attention than ever,” said Jane Rumble, Ofcom Director of Market Intelligence. 

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn