Kid Insight

UK kids value mobile over TV

Disciplining parents take note: Today's teens say they would miss their mobile phones and internet access more than TV, according to a new report from UK regulatory body Ofcom.
October 25, 2011

Disciplining parents take note: Today’s teens say they would miss their mobile phones and internet access more than TV, according to a new report from UK┬áTV and telecommunications regulator Ofcom.

Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes finds that 95% of 12-to 15-year-olds in the UK have access to the internet at home through a PC or laptop, up from 89% in 2010 and 77% in 2007. And half of these kids who own a smartphone visit social networks weekly compared with 33% last year.

Of this group, 28% of kids say they value the presence of their mobile phone compared to the 18% who place priority in the boob tube. Still, kids are watching more TV than ever before, with viewing figures increasing by two hours since 2007. In 2010, children ages four to 15 watched an average of 17 hours and 34 minutes of TV per week, compared with 15 hours and 37 minutes in 2007. Nearly a third of children ages five to 15 who use the internet at home are watching TV via an online catch-up service on their PC/laptop, such as the BBC iPlayer or ITV Player.

The study also finds that while teens are using the internet for social networking purposes, tweens are more likely to use it for gaming, with 51% saying they play games online on a weekly basis, up from 44% in 2010. Eight-to 11-year-olds are also spending more time playing on game players and consoles compared to 2010 at almost 10 hours– an increase of nearly two hours – which speaks to The NPD Group’s recent report on the influx of console gaming among US kids.

And while kids are hopping online at increasingly younger ages, the Ofcom study finds that nearly half of five-to seven-year-olds say that television is the medium they would miss the most, compared to 25% naming playing computer/video games, and less than one in ten naming either the internet (7%) or mobile phones (1%). The research shows that 95% of this age group watches TV almost every day, compared to 43% using the internet and 7% using a mobile phone.

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