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UK kids prefer online video to TV, Ofcom finds

UK kids prefer online video to TV, Ofcom finds

Children in the UK spend more of their time online on laptops, tablets and smartphones than they do in front of the TV, new figures from Ofcom have revealed.

The research, which questioned kids aged between five and 15 about their habits, found youngsters spend just over two hours a day on the internet, about 20 minutes more than they do watching TV.

Streaming video sites are the most popular destination for British kids, with four out of five children (80 per cent) using YouTube.

Meanwhile, nearly half of children overall (49 per cent), and a third of preschoolers aged three to four (32 per cent), now watch subscription on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV.

Kids questioned for the survey said the main reasons why they favoured online services over TV is that they are able to choose exactly what to watch, as well the fact they can access a far wider range of personalised content.

While TV is usually under the control of parents and reserved for family time, fast broadband internet services let kids take charge of their own viewing.

Ofcom's research found much of kids' online viewing tends to fall into one of three categories. The first relates to hobbies and passions - such as music tutorials or sports videos, while the second was content produced by vloggers. Many children said they looked up to their favourite YouTubers as role models, or regarded them as a friend who could provide support or advice.

The third category was 'sensory' videos, with many youngsters enjoying content that includes "satisfying noises" such as people making and playing with slime, or opening presents.

Yih-Choung Teh, Strategy and Research Group Director at Ofcom, said: “Children have told us in their own words why online content captures most of their attention. These insights can help inform parents and policymakers as they consider the role of the internet in children’s lives."

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