The latest annual report by telecom regulator Ofcom on children’s media use, attitudes and understanding has revealed that youngsters are texting and spending more time online than ever before.
Girls aged 12 to 15 send an average of 221 texts a week – 35 per cent more than boys of the same age and more than four times as many as the UK average of 50 texts per week.
The research clearly highlights the increasing role of the internet in children’s lives. For the first time, 12 to 15-year-olds spend as much time on the internet as they do watching television. This adds up to an estimated 17 hours per week on each activity.
Children’s access to the internet is not restricted to computers and laptops either. Almost two-thirds of young people aged 12 to 15 now own a SmartPhone and two-fifths said they would miss their mobile phone more than any other device. A minority revealed, however, that they had had some kind of negative experience online or on their mobile phone.
Children are keen users of social networks too. Eighty per cent of today’s 12 to 15-year-olds have a social networking profile and an average of 286 friends.
“Ofcom’s latest research shows that children’s take-up and use of different media is growing at a rapid pace, with some areas such as texting and SmartPhone ownership fast outstrippng the general population,” said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s consumer group director.