Children spend more time online than watching TV

"TV viewing has been redefined" claim researchers, with Netflix more popular than any TV channel and YouTube used on a daily basis by 5 to 15-year-olds

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For the first time, children are spending more time online than watching TV according to a new report.

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Researchers Childwise claim that 5 to 15-year-olds spend an average of three hours a day online, compared to 2.1 hours watching TV.

However, with half of those surveyed saying they watch YouTube every day, and with Netflix more popular than any traditional TV channel, television (or ‘video content’ if you’re being picky) is still a major part of kids’ online experience.

The report counts catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and streaming services including Netflix as ‘online’ rather than television time, meaning it is clear younger viewers are still watching shows, just in different ways.

“TV viewing has been redefined,”research director Simon Leggett said. “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.

“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.”

The news comes as the BBC announces plans for the future of BBC3, their first ‘online-only’ TV channel. The channel will switch to online on 16th February.

The Childwise report also says that among 15 to 16-year-olds, less than a quarter would normally watch television as it is broadcast, preferring instead to watch it via catch-up or on-demand.

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The report also claimed that 67 per cent of young people now own a tablet computer, with the device now more popular than a laptop or desktop computer.