Major shift in UK children’s behaviour as time online overtakes time watching TV for first time ever, reveals new report.
This year has seen a major shift in UK children’s media use with time spent online overtaking TV viewing for the first time ever, according to the latest 2016 CHILDWISE Monitor Report.
Tablet ownership also soared this year – up by 50% from last year. Just six years after the UK release of the iPad, tablets have swept into children’s lives, with two in three (67%) now having their own device.
The new data shows that YouTube has taken centre stage in children’s lives this year to become the place they turn to for entertainment, music, games, TV programmes, instruction and advice. Half use the site every day, almost all do so on occasion.
The majority of children who use YouTube visit the site to access music videos (58%). Around half of users keep themselves entertained with funny content on YouTube (52%). Around a third watch gaming content, vlogs/blogs, TV programmes or ‘how to’ videos.
Children are also going online more in their bedrooms. Three in four children (73%) can now access the internet in their room, up from two in three (63%) last year.
The 2016 CHILDWISE Monitor is a comprehensive annual report looking at five to 16-year-olds media consumption, purchasing and social habits as well as key behaviour. More than 2000 children in schools across the United Kingdom completed in-depth online surveys for the report.
“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. TV viewing has been redefined,” says Simon Leggett, Research Director from CHILDWISE.
“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.”
This year, for the first time, tablet devices have overtaken laptops/PCs/netbooks as the main type of computer that children have in their homes. Four in five children (79%) now live in a house with a tablet device in it. This is a significant rise from just three in five (61%) last year.
Findings of the report also include...
Children age 5-16 now use the internet for an average of three hours a day and watch TV for 2.1 hours. It is worth noting that simply counting hours spent on devices can be problematic. Children multi task and often use more than one device at once and don’t always give each full attention.
63% of children own their own mobile phone with an average monthly spend of £12.
Favourite internet vloggers
Zoella, real name Zoe Sugg, is children’s favourite YouTuber, followed by TheDiamondMinecart, Thatcher Joe, KSI and Stampy.
For the first time the CHILDWISE Monitor report asked children age 7 to 16 that used YouTube who their favourite YouTubers were or what were their favourite channels on the site.
The YouTuber with the most mentions was fashion and beauty vlogger Zoella. She was a favourite among girls with 15% naming her as favourite and 8% naming her overall.
TheDiamondMinecart, real name Daniel Middleton, posts daily videos about the popular game Minecraft. He was popular among boys, chosen by 6%, compared to 4% overall.
Zoella’s boyfriend Alfie Deyes of PointlessBlog fame (named by 2% overall) and her brother Joe Sugg, known as Thatcher Joe (4%) are continuing favourites.
“This is the year YouTube use has exploded among children with almost half (48%) using it every day and just 10% never using it,” says Simon
“Around a third of children who use YouTube watch vlogs/blogs. Girls are much more likely to be interested in these than boys and viewing is highest for older children, peaking at half of 11-12 year olds.”
However, the majority of children are passive consumers, rather than contributors to YouTube, rarely going beyond liking/disliking content or subscribing to channels. Only a minority ever post comments, share or upload videos.
“Children of all ages, both boys and girls, find somebody to follow on YouTube who speaks directly to them and reflects their interests, coming across as authentic and unmediated,” Simon added.
“For older girls, vloggers are filling the role previously held by magazines – somewhere to read about other people’s lives, problems, cringes, new ideas and fashion.”
Boys of all ages enjoy FIFA football gaming commentary by vloggers such as Joe Weller and Miniminter. Younger boys like Minecraft gameplay vloggers such as TheDiamondMinecart, Stampy and iBallisticSquid. Older boys favour KSI
CHILDWISE is an independent market research agency specialising in children and young people.
The Monitor Report 2015-6 covers computers and the internet; websites and applications; gaming, YouTube; mobile phones; TV viewing; music; reading; cinema; children’s equipment; money; purchasing; sports & activities; health & wellbeing and social awarenes.