TV Still King with Kids

Aussie kids are still spending almost half of their spare time watching TV, on the internet or playing video games, a new survey shows.

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About 2.4 hours of their day is spent glued to the television, according to the Cartoon Network's annual New Generations Poll, with the figure largely unchanged from last year, a spokesperson said.

The survey of 1600 children and 1600 parents also found children are spending less time playing sport and on outdoor activities, which has dropped by 15 per cent since last year. That's despite 67 per cent of children aged between four and 14 saying that they regularly play sport.

Instead, they're spending more time indoors reading books and doing homework (up 16 per cent) or playing with toys (up 27 per cent).

Cartoon Network researcher Peter Hammer said that the figures reflected the changing nature of households as newer technologies infiltrate the average home.

"Aussie kids are tech savvy and show strong media awareness," he said.

"In 2011, it is all about 'screen time' ... tablet ownership has shot up 181 per cent in one year and mobile use, whether owned or borrowed, is up 77 per cent.

"And, in technological tradition, TV remains the ultimate king of the screen."

83 per cent of respondents aged between four and 14 said they used the internet every week, with the most time spent playing online games (38 per cent) and doing homework (20 per cent). Social networking accounted for 14 per cent of internet usage.

But 60 per cent of parents said that they limit the amount of time their children spend on the internet, with only 8 per cent saying that their children use the internet without parental controls.

The research also shows that kids aged between four and 14 earn an average of $499 per year from pocket money (65 per cent), cash gifts (35 per cent) and doing work outside the home (5 per cent).

Food and drink, toys and clothing are the top things on which children spend their money.

Screen Time

TV -- 46 per cent
Internet and computers -- 34 per cent
Online/handheld games -- 20 per cent

Internet Time

Playing online games -- 38 per cent
School work/homework -- 20 per cent
Social networking -- 14 per cent
Other -- 12 per cent
YouTube -- 10 per cent
Streaming TV -- 3 per cent
Skype -- 3 per cent

Other Findings

• 42 per cent of children aged seven to 14 own their own mobile phone, with a further 23 per cent borrowing someone else's phone
• Social media use among children is down 7 per cent, but one in five children claim to have more than 200 Facebook friends
• Soccer is the most-played sport for boys aged four to 14, while girls favour swimming
• Darren Lockyer is their favourite sports personality, with Justin Bieber rated their favourite celebrity and Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe their favourite TV or movie star
• More kids (43 per cent) say that they aspire to be happy when they're 30, rich (37 per cent) and have lots of friends (35 per cent)

Source: New Generations 2011: The Changing World of Kids (Cartoon Network)

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