Life through a lens: how Britain’s children eat, sleep and breathe TV

  • ‘Multitasking’ youngsters surf net while watching TV
  • 63% watch programmes in bed before going to sleep

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.

Internet use – now that the social networking bug is biting younger than ever – is also continuing to grow at a far greater rate than the brief fall-off in TV viewing. That means British children spend an average of five hours and 20 minutes in front of a screen a day, up from four hours and 40 minutes five years ago.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jan/16/television.socialnetworking

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