This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Last updated at 12:01 GMT, Monday, 29 October 2012

Children's changing media habits


26 October 2012

Television is losing its long established status as the main form of entertainment for children. In Britain at least, kids are spending more time surfing the internet and sending text messages than ever before, according to a new study.


Mark Gregory

Children watching TV, BBC image

Children used to spend hours daily in front of TV to get entertainment.


Click to hear the report


The television set in the living room used to rule the entertainment choices of generations of British children. But that's no longer the case, at least not according to the latest annual survey of young people's media habits, carried out by the British media regulator, Ofcom.

The survey found that 12 to 15 year olds spent equal amounts of time watching TV and going online - 17 hours a week on average for each medium. And asked which media device they most valued, teenagers rated their mobile phone above the family TV set. Smart phone ownership among teenagers was found to have doubled in just 12 months.

The survey paints a picture of an increasingly tech savvy younger generation, with even very young children confident about, and familiar with, a wide variety of digital devices. The survey says the take up of digital technologies is faster among teenagers than the general population.

It also comments on the popularity of text messaging, especially among girls. Teenage girls typically send 30 or more text messages a day, 35% more than boys do. Ofcom says the findings highlight the challenges parents face in keeping up with children's use of technology in order to protect them.


Click to hear the vocabulary


the case

the situation


regular practices or activities

media regulator

organisation that oversees the lawful and fair running of mass communication companies


type of technology


treasured or cared about

paints a picture

shows evidence

tech savvy

confident and knowledgeable in using technology




on average

the challenges

the difficulties


Latest reports

  1. Home
  2. Grammar, Vocabulary & Pronunciation
  3. Words in the News
  4. Children's changing media habits