BBC News 27 March 2015
Children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared with around three hours in 1995, according to market research firm Childwise.
Teenaged boys spend the longest, with an average of eight hours.
Eight-year-old girls spend the least – three-and-a-half hours, according to the study.
Screen time is made up of time spent watching TV, playing games consoles, using a mobile, computer or tablet.
The Connected Kids report, compiled by market researcher Childwise, has collated data from 1995 to the present day to create a comprehensive picture of children’s media habits.
Each year, its report, which is not available online, surveys around 2,000 children, aged five to 16.
It finds that teenaged girls now spend an average of seven-and-a-half- hours watching screens, compared with 3.5 hours of TV viewing in 1995.
Younger children fare slightly better – in 1995, five to 10-year-olds averaged around two-and-a-half-hours of TV.
Fast-forward to 2014 and screen time has risen to four-and-a-half hours.
Children are also now multi-screening – using more than one device at the same time, for example, watching TV while surfing the internet on a tablet or mobile so some of the screen time will be concurrent.
“The main difference from the 1990s is that then TV and magazines were the main ways for connecting kids to the media and now they have different devices from tablets, mobiles, games consoles and they have a much higher screen time,” said research executive Matthew Nevard.
Children’s TV viewing habits have changed dramatically, with the majority now watching television via catch-up services and YouTube rather than the traditional TV set, according to the report.
YouTube is the most popular on-demand service with more than half of respondents accessing TV and video via the site since 2013.