Market researcher Childwise has released its 2017 report on media consumption 5 to 16-year-olds, and the trend is towards more reliance on mobile phones.
The data shows that the mobile phone now dominates children’s media experiences, with ownership increasing steadily, particularly among primary aged children, and usage more varied than ever.
Around 2000 children in schools across the United Kingdom completed in-depth online surveys for the report, which reveals that tablet ownership has reached saturation point after years of rapid growth, with two-thirds of children having their own touchscreen tablet at home.
Simon Leggett, research director from CHILDWISE says: ‘Our research suggests that children now expect to be constantly entertained. They want to fill every free moment they have. Tablets were a gateway to apps and the internet for many children – they were the technology of choice and widely endorsed by parents. Children now expect the same level of functionality when they’re out and about, and the mobile phone delivers that’.
‘Tablets are not as portable as mobile phones and they don’t work ‘on the go’ as easily as a mobile phone. This is why we have seen a modest resurgence of the mobile phone, which children can have with them and use at all times to fill any moment of boredom with gaming, viewing YouTube videos, catching up with social media or listening to music.'
The survey shows that 54% of children used their mobile phone to listen to music, 51% watched video content on them, 41% played games on them, and 60% use a mobile phone to go online.
Mobile phone ownership has increased to 39% amongst 5-10 year olds, up from 35% a year ago.
Most children say their use of technology helps them learn and develop new interests. However, a significant minority are concerned about their over reliance on them, with one in four finding it difficult to go several hours without checking them, say they have missed out on sleep because they have spent too long on gadgets, or would like to spend more time away from them.
Three in 10 children say they have to check their connected devices every few minutes.
Most teenagers break rules set for them for internet use and a significant minority of nine to 12 year olds go online longer than they are allowed, or when they shouldn’t.
Findings of the report also include…
* Children claim to use the internet for an average of three hours a day. One in eight say they spend more than six hours online per day.
* Social networking sites are more popular than texting for children to keep in touch with one another outside school.
* YouTube is the most popular website among children this year, far ahead of second place favourite Snapchat, and is the most popular video on demand service, ahead of second place Netflix - almost all children use YouTube.