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Brief Published: 17 Oct 2014

UK Children’s Media Use 2014

Tablet use among children is soaring

Tablet use among young children in the UK is rocketing, according to a new survey from UK regulatory body Ofcom. The annual Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report tracks changes in how children aged five to 15 consume media, analysing changing technology use and long-term shifts in domestic behaviour.

Some 70% of children aged five to 15 now have access to a tablet computer at home – up from 51% in 2013. Almost one in three now own their own tablet device – revolutionising everything from homework to bedtime stories.

Other key findings include:

  • Decline of TV: Among 12- to 15-year-olds, TV is losing its allure. This age group is twice as likely to say they would miss their mobile phone more than television, claiming they prefer to socialise online rather than watch TV. However, younger children still prefer television compared to any other device.
  • Gender Divide: Girls and boys are showing a marked difference in how they use technology. Young boys show a preference for gaming, while in general, girls prefer chatting online with friends. Boys are more likely than girls to have a YouTube account (29% vs 15%), while girls are more likely to have an Instagram account (42% vs 30%).

  • Helicopter Parenting: Some 90% of parents mediate their child's access to the internet in some way. The most common techniques include explaining the risks of certain behaviour, outlining rules around access, and the use of filters and safe search tools. Girls' online activity is monitored more closely than that of boys the same age. 

For more on the tech habits of today's teens and tweens, take a look at Gen Z: Tech Titans and Digital Kids, or listen to our recent webinar, Future Consumers.