Young people now spend more time playing and socialising on the internet than they do watching kids’ TV, according to a study from research agency Childwise.
The annual report, which has been running since the mid-1990s, looks at how children in the UK interact with various forms of media. For the first time ever, online activity has overtaken TV, something Childwise describes as a 'landmark change'.
On average, children now spend three hours a day online, compared with just 2.1 hours watching the telly. The move away from the living room is even more apparent in teenagers - fewer than a quarter of children watch TV live as it is broadcast. The rest prefer to use catch-up and on-demand services, or watch through YouTube.
Almost a third of this age group (32%) were also found to have no favourite TV programme. Of those shows that were identified as favourites across all age ranges, including Hollyoaks and Pretty Little Liars, none had been seen my more than 2% of children in the previous week.
But at least half of them would have watched something on Netflix. When asked about what services they'd used in the previous week, 50% had watched a show on the subscription video on demand service, making it the most watched TV service of all. ITV1 (47%) and BBC1 (46%) were second and third most viewed respectively.
Simon Leggett, the research director at Childwise, claimed that the survey showed that traditional TV has been "redefined".
He said: "Growing access to the internet at any time and in any place, and a blurring of television content across channels and devices, brings a landmark change in behaviour this year.
"Children are now seeking out the content of their choice. They still find traditional TV programmes engaging but are increasingly watching them online and on-demand or binge watching box sets."