Looking at Children and Parents Media Use and Attitudes: new research highlights

26 Jul 2019 Becca Cawthorne

The UKCCIS Evidence Group has published its latest Research Highlight, the 143rd and 144th in the series. The Research Highlight is a summary of research looking at the way that children and parents use the internet and technology.

Ofcom Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes – Highlights from Ofcom’s 2018 Research

Ofcom’s media literacy research explores the extent to which people are able to use, understand and create media and communications. The latest reports were published in January 2019: Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes, an annual quantitative report providing evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 3-15; and Children’s Media Lives 2018, the fifth year of a qualitative study following largely the same 18 children to provide in-depth insight into the role of media in their day-to-day lives. This year, the quantitative report also sets out findings from an additional online study looking at attitudes to, and consumption of, news among children aged 12-15.

  • In 2018, two devices continue to be used by a majority of children in each age group: television sets (used by 94% of 3-4s and 97% of 5-15s) and tablets (used by 58% of 3-4s and 76% of 5-15s).
  • More than nine in ten (92%) children aged 5-15 go online using any type of device, and this increases with age, ranging from 52% of 3-4s to 99% of 12-15s. This is unchanged since 2017.
  • The estimated time that 3-4s spend online has increased (by an hour) to nearly nine hours a week; while 12-15s spend an extra 1.5 hours gaming each week, compared to 2017. For the first time, 8-11s join 12-15s in spending more time on the internet than watching TV on a TV set.
  • Around six in ten 5-15s use a tablet (64%) or a laptop (58%) to go online, while half use a mobile phone.
  • For the first time OFCOM asked about children’s viewing of ‘over the top’ (OTT) TV services – services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV; a third of 3-4s (32%) and half of 5-15s (49%) use these services.
  • The variety of content that children watch via these services is notable. Among children aged 5-15 no single programme or type of content was nominated as a favourite by more than one in ten respondents.
  • Following a substantial increase in use between 2016 and 2017, YouTube use is unchanged in 2018 with close to half of 3-4s (45%) and four in five (80%) 5-15s ever having used it.

More about the series

The Research Highlights Series summarises new findings as they become available.

The Evidence Group exercises editorial control over the selection and production of these Research Highlights, and welcomes recent and ongoing studies from researchers and stakeholders.

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