Children spending less time watching TV, Ofcom finds

Time spent online remains constant at average of two hours and 11 minutes per day.

Children spending less time watching TV, Ofcom finds

The amount of time the average child (aged five to 15) spends in front of a TV set has fallen year on year by almost eight minutes to an estimated one hour and 52 minutes.

This is according to findings from media regulator Ofcom’s new Children’s Media Use and Attitudes report, based on about 2,000 interviews with children and parents nationwide.

While TV time fell, time spent online remained the same as last year at two hours and 11 minutes.

Ofcom qualified the data points by saying there was some overlap between these estimates and some of these activities may also be undertaken simultaneously.

"Watching TV on a TV set will include watching live broadcast TV as well as on-demand or subscription services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Going online could include playing games online, going on social media or watching videos online," the regulator said.

The study also found that 49% of children now watch subscription on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV.

However, YouTube dominates children’s daily habits, according to a more detailed examination involving a panel of 40 children who were interviewed and completed a seven-day diary.

Out of those children involved, 37 watched YouTube videos every day, 16 watched Netflix every day and 10 watched live TV every day.

Ofcom found that live TV viewing was often convened by parents, allowing the family to come together to watch soaps, quiz shows or "appointment viewing" programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing or The X Factor.

Popular content on YouTube centred on hobbies and vloggers.

Finally, older children are increasingly finding it difficult to moderate their screen time. The proportion of 12- to 15-year-olds who agreed with that statement increased to 35% from 27% the previous year.

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