The Internet Is King – TV Plays Second Fiddle
Forget the old line “Video killed the radio star” – times have changed, and now the Internet has officially killed the television, at least where children are concerned.
According to research from Roy Morgan, Australian children aged between six to 13 spend an average of 12 hours a week using the Internet, as opposed to 10.5 hours a week in front of the TV.
The survey spanned almost a decade, from January 2007 to December 2016, and had an annual average sample of 3,150 children. Its results showed that over the period there was a consistent rise in Internet usage that correlated with a decline in time spent in front of the goggle box.
What’s important to note, however, is that while the Internet may reign in terms of overall hours per week, when comparing what children spend their time doing solely at home, television still has a slight upper hand. A large percentage of a child’s Internet consumption – almost 30% in fact – is believed to be undertaken outside the home, either on the go or at school, where television isn’t available.
Time devoted to surfing the web has jumped from just over six hours a week in 2008 to almost double that by the end of 2016. Internet usage is forecast to overtake television consumption within just a few years as more and more children gain access to personal devices.
As Michele Levine, the CEO of Roy Morgan Research says, “The Internet is taking time away from TV in large part because it’s what many kids now treat as television. Watching online videos is the most common Internet activity, something two-thirds of kids do in an average four weeks. Almost one in four kids say YouTube is their number one favourite website.”
This has created an interesting shift in dynamics in the family home, not just socially but physically and functionally as well. Parents are finding themselves in the bemusing position of encouraging their children to watch more TV, as they now consider it a more ‘social’ activity than searching the web, which is often done on a personal level with little or no interaction from other family members.
Others are finding benefits in no longer having to install televisions and related equipment in multiple rooms, as households revert to days gone by when only one television set was required.
Household interactivity is also changing, with some families now embracing the new way of life and trying to incorporate Internet usage as a family activity, gathering together to watch funny video clips, entire movies or searching up information for educational purposes as they huddle together on the couch.
There’s clearly no stopping the juggernaut that is the Internet, but the thought of families and friends being physically present but with devices out and eyes down leaves most of us with a cold feeling, even when we know we’re guilty of it ourselves, right? My friend Mike raised an interesting point when he posed then answered his own question, “Are there are methods to consistently bring everyone back together? Family dinner with no devices I guess!” It’ll always come back to the simple things, no matter how far technology takes us.