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Children's viewing habits differ strongly per device and platform

F or the new generation of media users, smartphones, tablets and platforms like YouTube and Netflix have become an integral part of their lives. These days, content is available 24/7, everywhere. That said, children's lives often take place away from adult supervision - both in front of the traditional television and modern (smaller) screens.

To get an idea of children's media habits, CHOICE Insights + Strategy carried out 'diary research' (at the request of NICAM) among children aged 8 to 12. It turns out that what, when and with whom children watch media differs strongly per device and platform.

Children's media habits differ per device and platform.

The 5 most important insights:

  1. Traditional television is almost being caught up by YouTube and Video on Demand: 89 percent of children watched a traditional television screen, 85 percent spent time on YouTube or channels like Netflix, Videoland or NPO Start.
  2. Young families often own multiple devices: smartphones and televisions are present in practically every household. Video on Demand is mostly watched on television or tablets. For YouTube, a tablet or smartphone is more common.
  3. What children watch depends on the medium. When children watch television it is usually channel NPO3 and its 'Jeugdjournaal' (children's news). On Netflix, series are popular. On YouTube, influencers are the most popular by far.
  4. The popular viewing times vary from medium to medium, too. Apart from 'children's primetime' between 18:00 and 20:00 hours, lineair television is watched a lot in the morning between 06:00 and 09:00. Watching YouTube shows a significant shift towards the afternoon.
  5. Children mostly watch programs that the Kijkwijzer rating indicates is not harmful to them. If they do watch content with a 12 or 16 rating, it is usually in the company of their parents.

What did we use these insights for?

This 'diary research' contributed to Kijkwijzer changing the timeslots on linear television: before 20:00 hours, all programs are rated All Ages, 6 or 9. NICAM also established regulations for media-suppliers who distribute content on online platforms: they must comply to the requirements made by NICAM, such as the rating of products, providing information and the protection of minors. Lastly, this research adds value to the further development of YouRateIt: a Kijkwijzer application for rating online videos by creators.

About this research

CHOICE Insights + Strategy asked 333 Dutch children aged 8 to 12 to write an online diary about their viewing habits, for seven days. A week before, during the research's intake, 497 parents were asked to fill out an online questionnaire about their children's use of media.

Want to read more?

+ 'Popularity Video on Demand demands well-informed parents and children'

Published: December 16 2019