34% of children ‘have own tablet’


Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A third of all UK children now has their own tablet computer – almost double the number of last year, a study has found.

Some 34% of children aged between five and 15 use their own tablet rather than one belonging to their parents or school, up from 19% last year, according to Ofcom’s annual Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes report.

Almost two-thirds of children (62%) use a tablet at home, up from 42% last year.

The rapid increase meant that some pre-schoolers were using a tablet to surf the web, play games and watch video clips, with 11% of children aged three and four having their own tablet, up from 3% last year, the report said.

The number of five to 15-year-olds who use a tablet to go online has doubled to 42% since last year while the proportion of children using the internet via a PC, laptop or netbook fell for the first time, by 3%, to 88%.

The regulator said the surge in popularity of the tablet could be behind a drop in the number of children with a television in their bedroom, down by a third over the past five years from 66% to 46%.

Fewer children also have games consoles in their bedrooms as tablets take over the role while the number who have radios in the bedroom has halved from 32% in 2009.

The number of children watching TV on a tablet has risen by a third in just a year to 20% while 33% watch on-demand TV.

The report also reveals that girls prefer more “sociable” media, sending more texts and making more mobile calls than boys in a typical week, and almost half (47%) of older girls say that a mobile phone is the device they would most miss, compared to 29% of older boys.

But girls and boys aged 12 to 15 are equally active on social media, with 71% having a profile, although girls are more likely to use Instagram, SnapChat and Tumblr.

Just one social media site – YouTube – attracts more boys, who are nearly twice as likely as girls aged 12 to 15 to use it.

Ofcom said nine in 10 parents whose children go online were taking steps to help their children manage risks when using the internet.

The most popular methods included supervising their children online (84%), talking to children about managing online risks (78%) and having rules in place about use of the internet (82%).

The regulator said: “Ofcom understands the importance of giving parents clear advice about who they can contact with particular concerns about different types of media.

“The website ParentPort provides straightforward information on what parents can do if they feel they have seen or heard something inappropriate for their children.”

Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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