The Media in Figures: Children’s media and communication habits

ACCORDING to research into children’s media and communications habits – published by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom – children aged 11-15 are watching half the amount of live TV as adults (1 hour 32 minutes versus 2 hours 58 minutes), but they are spending six times longer than adults watching short, online video clips on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo (33 minutes versus five minutes).

Says Ofcom, the research – which involved children aged 6-15 filling in a three-day diary on their media and communications habits – also found:

* Half (45 per cent) of 11-15 year-olds watch online video clips on websites every week compared with 20 per cent of adults. These video clips account for around a fifth (19 per cent) of overall viewing time for this age group compared with just two per cent for adults;

* Children aged 11-15 watch a similar amount of free on-demand TV – from services such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD – to adults each day (13 minutes versus 12 minutes). But a greater proportion of adults are likely to watch these services each week (38 per cent, compared with 26 per cent of 11-15 year-olds);

* Nearly all UK adults reported watching live TV every week over the course of a week (94 per cent), compared with just over three-quarters (78 per cent) of children aged 11-15 and 90 per cent of 6-11 year-olds;

* More than three quarters (77 per cent) of adults tune into the radio each week, compared with four in 10 (42 per cent) children. Adults listened to five times more radio each day than children in the study (1 hour 19 minutes versus 15 minutes for children aged 11-15);

* Older children are also engaging with online and digital music more than adults do. Each week, 11-15s are more likely to stream music (19 per cent versus 13 per cent of adults), listen to their own digital music (44 per cent versus 33 per cent), and twice as likely to watch music videos (22 per cent versus 11 per cent);

* Compared with all adults, a significantly smaller proportion of children’s listening time is spent on live radio (21 per cent of 11-15 year olds compared with 71 per cent of all adults). Instead, over half (54 per cent) of 11-15 year-olds’ listening time is spent on digital music, either streamed or stored on a device;

* Children are using social media and instant messaging to communicate with friends rather than using the phone – in sharp contrast to adults;

* Adults are more than three times more likely than 11-15 year-olds to talk on the phone each week (83 per cent versus 25 per cent) and spend six times longer talking on the phone (29 minutes a day versus five minutes);

* Twice the proportion of 11-15 year-olds communicate via a social media site than make a phone call (47 per cent versus 25 per cent) and five times more use instant messaging than email each week (40 per cent versus eight per cent); and

* Over half (56 per cent) of the time spent communicating by older children is taken up by text messages, instant messages and photo messages. This is twice the proportion of time spent by adults on messaging (28 per cent). Older children also spend twice as long communicating via social networking sites than adults each day (52 minutes versus 25 minutes).

Source: ‘Children’s Digital Day’, Ofcom, published November 25 2014. Read more, here.