UK teenagers spend as much time online as watching TV
- Published: 25/10/2012 at 10:09 AM
- Online news:
The average British teenager has over 200 social media friends and spends 17.1 hours a week online, yet has never physically met a quarter of these "friends," according to a survey published this week.
The 2012 report "Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes" by UK media regulator Ofcom, published this week, shows that children are becoming prolific social networkers. The average 8-to-12-year-old has 92 online friends, with the number rising to 286 for the average 12-to-15-year-olds; this raises serious questions about how young people protect and share personal information, as every comment on a social networking site is likely to be shared with a large number of others.
The average British teenager has over 200 social media friends. ©RimDream/Shutterstock.com
The report, commissioned by the UK's official media regulator and created through a combination of almost 2,000 qualitative interviews plus the integration of findings from seven other major qualitative interview-based national surveys, also revealed that older children are spending more time online and are more likely to do so alone. While 5-to-15-year-olds still spend more time watching TV than using any other media, 12-to-15-year-olds spend an average of 17.1 hours a week online (up from 14.9 hours in 2011), equaling their time in front of the television.
What's more, 43 percent of children are more likely to access the internet from a device in their own bedroom. One in seven users aged between 5 and 7, one in four aged between 8 and 11, and 55 percent of those aged 12 and above use the internet alone.
Limits to parental screening
In general, according to the report, parents are trying to screen the content that children access with 61 percent claiming to have set passwords, enabled safe search settings or activated other safety features, but due to their own lack of understanding or confidence with technology they are often prevented from doing more.
This issue is being exacerbated by the fact that the methods by which children go online is changing quickly. Since 2011, smartphone ownership has increased to 28 percent of all children aged between 5 and 15, and children aged 12 and above are more likely to have a smartphone than any other type of mobile phone. Half of all 12-to-15-year-olds say that of all the devices they use they would miss their smartphone the most.
When it came to tablet use, 6 percent of 3-to-4-year-olds access the internet via a tablet and the use of such devices is also rising across all age groups with one in seven of all children aged five and over claiming to use one at home.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency