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Children’s web usage increases
The SRM Blog

Children’s web usage increases


Written by SRM

12th February 2016

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by Michelle Ali

Time spent online exceeds time spent watching TV -2016 Statistics on Children’s use of the Web

The year 2015 was described by the research agency Childwise as one of “landmark change” due to the significant increase seen in the amount of time children spend online. It is the vulnerability associated with this ever-increasing usage of online services by children that was the inspiration behind SRM’s Virtual E-safety officer (VE-SO) portal.


The Statistics

According to an annual survey which tracked children’s media behaviour in the UK (based on 2,000 5-16 year olds), there was a 50% increase in the ownership of tablets by 5 – 16 year olds compared to the previous year (2014).

According to the Childwise Monitor report 2016:

  • 7-16 year olds spend 3 hours a day online and only 2.1 hours watching TV
  • 15-16 year olds spend 4.8 hours online a day
  • 60% of children watch TV via phone tablet or laptop
  • 38% of children do most of their viewing on demand
  • Among 15-16 year olds, less than 25% watch TV whilst it is broadcasting
  • 32% had no favourite TV programme
  • Among television services, Netflix emerged as the most popular choice overtaking all conventional TV Channels
  • When asked about their viewing in the previous week, 50% had watched programmes on Netflix, 47% had watched programmes on ITV 1 and 46% had watched programmes on BBC 1.
  • YouTube is used every day by almost half of 16 year olds
  • 74% use YouTube to watch programmes whereas 40% use IPlayer to watch programmes.

Parents – Things to think about

The maturity of broadcasting allows it to be a much safer means of entertainment for your children. There are rules and regulations that are put in place to ensure the content you child is exposed to is appropriate. The boundless nature of the internet, however, means these same regulations cannot be put in place to protect your child as anyone can upload anything online.

An example of a regulation that has been put in place to protect what your child views is the Watershed. This ensures that your child in not exposed to adult content before 9pm. Examples of adult content include, but are not limited to, graphic violence, horror, strong language, nudity, sexual intercourse, gambling and drug use, or references to these themes without necessarily portraying them. In most countries, the same set of rules also applies to advertisements on radios and television, both for the content of the commercial and the nature of the product or service being advertised.

The boundless nature of the internet means that there is no law restricting what can be shown and what time it can be shown. Nevertheless, companies like YouTube take it upon themselves to stop children from viewing certain videos by having age restrictions in place. YouTube uses the age on an account to determine what content a user is exposed to. However, this can easily be overcome by simply opening a fake account with a false age (above the age of 18). Furthermore, there are millions of video providers that don’t implement age restrictions and give access to all visitors

The internet by its very nature provides little or nothing in the way of monitoring or protection for young people, unlike the regulated broadcasting organisations. More and more young people are using it for entertainment. There are many child monitoring tools that allow you to see what your child is being exposed to as well as imposing limits at your discretion. Currently, this is the best way to protect your child from inappropriate content.

There are many products out there to help parents monitor and control the content their child has access to. A good example is K9 webprotection. This is a free monitoring tool that allows parents to control what their child is exposed to using many features such as filtering  content and blocking sites ECT. Products like this allow parents to make their children’s internet a safer place.

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