Mobiles are taking over
Mobile Internet gadgets are becoming ever increasingly important in children and young people’s lives, a new Childwise report suggests.
by Rune H. Rasmussen
According to the annual Childwise report, the number of children with televisions in their bedroom is decreasing. At the same time, an increasing number of children have personal Internet access. In fact, among seven to 16 year olds, 61 per cent have a mobile phone with Internet access.
The survey report, which is based on interviews of 2,770 5 to 16 year olds carried out in autumn 2011, suggests that young people’s lives and culture increasingly revolves around the mobile phone. The interviews showed that, on average, children and young people use their mobiles for 1,6 hours each day.
The report paints an interesting picture of a young person’s daily life:
- Mobile phones are used for talking, texting and accessing the Internet. More than three-quarters of secondary-age pupils use mobiles to get online.
- An emerging push-button, on-demand culture, where children to a decreasing extent prefer scheduled TV programmes.
- Before school, children are more likely to play with their mobile phones than watch TV.
- After school, children are more likely to go online than watch TV.
- When children are reading at home, they are more likely to do so through a screen rather than a book or a magazine.
- Even in bed at night, the mobile phone is being used by 32 per cent of children aged 5- 16.
In addition, traditional PCs in children’s bedrooms are being replaced by laptops and tablet computers. Land-line telephones are also a thing of the past, as most children know how to send a text message, but have a harder time finding a telephone number.
Facebook is the most popular website, with 51 per cent of the interviewees saying they had logged in some time during the last week prior to the survey.
Television should not be written off
Research director Rosemary Duff told BBC that even though the growth of mobile Internet is the most significant change in how children use technology, television should not be written off prematurely. Mobile phones and the Internet each occupy about an hour and a half on average per day, but television viewing still occupy two and half hours.
And even though children might be using the Internet more than ever, she said, the content can be often be related to television programmes.
And as teenagers are eager "multi-taskers", they tend to use the Internet, or play on a games console, while also watching television.
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