Annual Report 2007–2008
Children's use of technology
The following findings on the use of electronic media and technology are derived from the Wave 2.5 data collection.
Watching television (B cohort)
The amount of time 3-4 year old children were reported to watch television was categorised as: low if children watched less than 280 minutes per week (this equates to approximately four and a half hours); medium if children watched between 281 and 570 minutes a week (between four and a half and nine and a half hours); and high if children watched more than 570 minutes per week (more than nine and a half hours). Approximately a third of the sample fell into each of these categories.
One in three children with high levels of television watching often turned the television on themselves, compared with one in five children with medium or low levels of television viewing (see Figure 1). A higher proportion of children with low levels of television watching never turned the television on themselves (32%) compared with children with high levels of television watching (19%).
Figure 1: Amount of time spent watching television, by frequency of child turning television on themselves, B cohort
Parents' views regarding the amount of children's media and technology use
Most parents1 of the children aged 3-4 years (68%) were happy with the level of television and DVD/video watching or computer game playing of their children. However, about one-quarter (27%) wished their child spent less time watching television and DVDs/videos or playing computer games. A small proportion (4%) weren't bothered if their child spent more time on these.
Rules about and managing children's television watching
Parents were asked how easy they found managing their 3-4 year old child's TV watching, including videos and DVDs. Most parents reported that it was very easy (36%) or fairly easy (54%) to manage, but about 9% found it fairly difficult and a very small number (1%) found it very difficult.
The ease of managing a child's television and DVD/video watching did not appear to be affected greatly by whether the family had rules for the type of programs and amount of television the child could watch, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Ease of managing child's television watching, by rules about programs and hours of television watched, B cohort
Use of computers (K cohort)
Over nine in ten children aged 7-8 years had a computer at home, and almost one in ten had a computer in their bedroom. As might be expected, the use of the computer, for any purpose, was generally more frequent among children who had a computer in their bedroom (see Figures 3 to 5).
As shown in Figure 3, children with computers in their bedroom were more likely to use the computer to play DVDs/CDs for entertainment than children who only had computers elsewhere in the home (69% compared with 55%).
Figure 3: Children with computer at home: Frequency of using computers to play DVDs and CDs, K cohort
Use of computers at home for work for school
Children with computers in their bedroom were only slightly more likely to use computers to do work for school than children who only had computers elsewhere in the home (80% compared with 74%), as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Children with computer at home: Frequency of using computers to do work for school, K cohort
Playing games on the computer
Almost all children with a computer in the home used this to play games, as shown in Figure 5. Children with computers in their bedroom were slightly more likely to do so than children who only had computers elsewhere in the home (97% compared with 93%).
Figure 5: Children with computer at home: Frequency of using computers to play games, K cohort
1 Of the B cohort respondents, 96% were the children's mothers.