Children now use the internet for three hours a day on average

Children now spend more time online than watching TV

Children now spend more time online than they do watching television, according to a new report from research agency Childwise.

In a survey covering the views of 2,000 young people aged between five and 16, it was found they now use the internet for three hours a day on average, compared with just 2.1 hours sitting in front of the television.

More than half of those who took part had watched programmes on Netflix, ahead of ITV on 47 per cent and BBC One on 46 per cent.

Video-sharing website YouTube, image-sharing sites Instagram and Snapchat, and social network Facebook were among the most popular online destinations for children.

It is thought the trend has resulted partly from a surge in tablet ownership among children, which is up by 50 per cent on last year.

Simon Leggett, Childwise research director, said this year's survey showed that TV viewing has been redefined.

"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,” he said.

"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."

In December, research showed that children as young as two are increasingly adept at using touchscreen displays with the ability to swipe, unlock and actively search for features on smartphones and tablets.

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