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Tablets More Popular With Children

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Child Playing On Computer Tablet

According to a report by Ofcom, the number of children that own a mobile phone is decreasing. This is mainly due to the growth in popularity of tablets. Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report looks at how children access and use different types of media, and the part that parents play in overseeing them.

The number of children aged between five and fifteen years old owning a mobile phone has decreased for the first time since the report began in 2005, from 49 percent last year to 43 percent this year.

Children aged from eight to eleven years old that own a mobile that is not a smartphone fell from 28 percent to 15 percent. In this age group 18 percent now own a smartphone while 15 percent own a tablet (this has increased by 400 percent in the last twelve months).

The report shows that around 62 percent of older children (aged 12–15) own a smartphone which has not changed in the last year but the number of older children that own a tablet has increased from 7 percent to 26 percent.

The use of tablets has increased by 300 percent from 2012 among 5-15 year olds and 28 percent of infants (3-4 years) now use a tablet at home. Children are using tablets to go online in place of more traditional methods such as laptops and desktop PCs where users have fallen by 17 percent over last year.

Easy access to the internet for playing games and accessing videos and music has proved popular with younger children, while older children use smartphones to communicate with each other.

A decline in the use of games consoles (both handheld and fixed) is reflected in the increased of tablets use for playing games. Despite the decline in the number of children with TV sets in their bedrooms, children say watching television would the thing they miss most among the activities they regularly participate in. Children are more likely to watch TV on devices other than a TV, such as tablets, smartphones and laptops, the number increasing from 34 percent last year to 45 percent this year.

For the first time, less children have social media profiles. 12-15 year olds are less likely to have a profile on any device (now 68 percent, down from 81 percent last year). Nearly all children in the 12-15 age group with at least one active online social media profile use Facebook (97 percent) but are less likely to have a Bebo profile (down from 8 percent last year to 4 percent this year) but are more likely to have a profile on Twitter profile (up to 37 percent, from 25 percent).

Most parents say they know enough to keep their child safe online, but 47 percent think their child knows more about the internet than they do. This figure varies by the child’s age but is steady year after year. 63 percent of parents of 12-15 year olds – and 14 percent of parents of infants aged 3-4 think say their child knows more about the internet that they do. Parents monitor their children’s internet use in a variety of ways including educating them about staying safe online (79 percent), supervision (53 percent) or using some parental controls or settings (62 percent).

43 percent of parents of 5-15 year olds that use a home PC or laptop to go on the internet have parental controls in place. A similar number set safe search settings, and 19 percent have YouTube safety mode enabled. 8 percent have set a pin or password on broadcasters’ websites.

Although 18 percent of internet users aged 12-15 know how to change online controls, only 6 percent admit to having done so in the past 12 months. A quarter of parents of 5-15 year old internet users are worried about cyber-bullying, and 14 percent said they were concerned about their child cyber-bullying somebody else.

For the full report, please click here

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