Ofcom research shows that the number of children that own a mobile phone is going down for the 1st time since they started research in 2005 as the number of children who personally own a tablet has almost doubled year on year.
The overall number of children aged 5-15 that own a mobile phone has fallen 6% year on year to 46%. Whereas Tablet computers are growing fast in popularity, use of tablets among 5-15 year olds tripled in the last year. More than one quarter of infants aged 2-4 now use a tablet at home, while 39% of 5-7 year olds and 44% of 8-11 year olds do.
As a direct result, the proportion of children accessing the internet on a PC, laptop or netbook fell by three percentage points year on year to 88%.
As viewing habits evolve the proportion of children watching TV on a tablet has risen by a third in a year to 20% (up from 15% in 2013) while 33% watch on-demand TV.
The research also revealed that this popularity of tablets could be contributing to the declining number of children with a TV set in their bedroom, which has decreased by a third over the past five years to 46%.
Despite the decline of TV sets in the bedroom, children still say that they would miss TV (34%) more than other popular devices (17% for mobile, 15% for tablets and 11% for games console). However, older children aged 12-15 are twice as likely to miss their mobile phone compared to TV (37% and 18%, respectively).
Children aged 5-15 also spend more time watching TV every week (14.6 hours) than doing any other media activity, although there has been a decrease since 2013.
In terms of other devices, the proportion of children with games consoles in their bedrooms has also declined over the past year – down -6% to 41%. Does this indicate that more UK families are spending time together? Maybe, but with an increasingly number of children playing games on their tablet – up 7% year on year, maybe we are simply turning into a nation of tablet addicts – even when we are in the same room as our loved ones.