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OTT services have a growing viewership base among children in the UK: Ofcom

OTT television services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the likes have found a strong fan base in children. According to the latest report by Ofcom, UK’s regulator for communications services, half of the population aged between 5 and 15 is glued to various streaming platforms.

This report examined children’s media literacy in terms of their ability to use, understand and create media and communications in a variety of contexts. The report provides detailed evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 5 to 15, as well as detailed information about media access and use by young children aged 3 to 4-year-old in the UK, but similar usage patterns have been noted in other countries, too.

The report titled ‘Children and parents: Media use and attitudes’, projects YouTube as the viewing platform of choice, particularly among 8- to 11-year-olds, where Vloggers are seen as an important source of content and creativity. The 2018 report showed that while TV sets and tablets dominate device use, time spent watching TV on a TV set is on a decline.

Online gaming is also rising in popularity. Three-quarters of children who were studied as part of the research play games online. Trends are worrying as far as exposure to inappropriate content is concerned. A majority of online children aged 12 to 15, think critically about websites they visit, but only a third correctly understand search engine advertising.

The disagreements between parents and children about screen time are causing increasing conflict among both. The report states that parents as well as 12 to 15-year-old children themselves are finding it harder to control screen. While parents may believe otherwise, most 12 to 15-year-olds consider they have a struck a good balance between this and doing other things.

Days of favourite shows on TV may also be nearing an end. The report suggests that films were the most-mentioned favourite content on OTT. Among 5- to 15-year-olds, no single programme, box set, film or other type of content was nominated as a favourite by more than one in ten respondents.

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