A generation of “multitasking” children are living their daily lives – including eating and falling asleep – to the accompaniment of television, according to a survey of youngsters’ media habits.
The flickering of the screen accompanies most of them before they go to school, when they return home, as they consume their evening meal and then – for 63%, far more than read a book each day – in bed at night. The study of five- to 16-year-olds shows that four out of five children now have a TV set in their bedroom.
So ubiquitous has television become that many children now combine it with other activities, including social networking online, flicking their eyes from laptop to TV screen and back again. Even if they are focusing on the television, young people are now reluctant to commit to one programme, with boys in particular often flipping between channels to keep up with two simultaneous shows at once.
The findings, from the market research agency Childwise, will fuel concerns that childhood is increasingly about private space and sedentary activities and less about play, social interaction or the child’s own imagination.
The government’s recent Children’s Plan, while attempting to calm panic over claims of “toxic” childhood, focused on improving play facilities as a means of ensuring a more balanced life for screen-bound youngsters.
A couple of people have flagged up this article from The Guardian on children and their television watching: