The Gulli observatory – 2008 Survey Children and screen-related activities

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Archives Lagardère Active

Paris, May 16 2008

In the current context of rapid expansion in new digital media (including television, computers, game consoles and mobile phones), the Lagardère Active Youth division decided to analyze children’s relationship to the screens they are constantly confronted with in everyday life, as well as their role in family relations. To this end, the Gulli Observatory* conducted a comprehensive, dedicated survey with children aged 6 to 11 and their parents, using an original approach combining quantitative1 and qualitative methodologies2 .

Parents have an ambivalent attitude toward screen-related activities

Parents perceive screen-related activities as an inevitable part of growing up because they are an integral element of the modern world, but they also have fears and questions concerning their effects over time.

1 – Screens are considered indispensable – parents are delighted to see their children familiarize themselves with computing tools, which they consider indispensable to a child’s integration in and adaptation to the modern world. They equate the inability to use computer screens, and particularly the Internet, with a form of illiteracy.

  • Screens are omnipresent in households: 98% of households surveyed possess at least one television set and/or a computer with an Internet connection. More recent purchases do not necessarily replace earlier ones, resulting in a proliferation of screens in households. On average, households with children aged 6 to 11 possess 10 screens.
  • A majority of children use screens for leisure-time activities: 45% of children devote over half of their leisure time to screen-related activities. This use is usually permitted by parents, who regard such activities as an integral part of modern life.
  • Screens are increasingly mobile and individualized: It was observed, for example, that 97% of children play video games on a mobile console and 16% already use a mobile phone. Even if children do not have their own personal mobile phone, they are strongly attracted to interactive objects and playfully explore their parents’ telephones at a very early age.

2 – Well-identified risks: Parents express very specific concerns that vary depending on the screen: the most obvious fear is exposure to pornography and violence, particularly on the Internet (66% of responses) and television (40% of responses), and for game consoles, isolation from family and friends (30% of responses). Game consoles and television, which are characterized by their “closed” content, are the screens that inspire the most confidence (69% for television and 92% for game consoles).

3 – A desire for control: 99% of parents surveyed say that they use at least one means of control over their children’s screen-related activities. The preferred method is a limitation on the amount of time spent in front of the screen, followed by control over the choice of programmes watched on television and use of the Internet only under supervision. Concerning the latter, 48% of families state that they use parental control software, but in actual fact it is often deactivated.

Sharing screen-related activities

1- Screen-related activities as a source of parent-child interaction: television viewing and familiarizing children with the Internet are times when parents and children participate in a shared activity or event. A vast majority of parents consider screen-related activities conducive to interaction (97% for the Internet, 95% for TV and 87% for video games).

2- Shared elements: with television, family discussions are organized according to content (74%), and parents see the Internet as a way to introduce their children to new knowledge (68%). Both TV and the Internet give parents a sense of better understanding their children’s world.

Expectations of educational content

Parents are well aware of the power of screen-related activities’ attraction for their children, and they deplore the low level of educational content provided by the various media given the fact that games and entertainment predominate by a wide, margin. This expectation is primarily expressed with regard to the Internet (67%) and television (44%), since video games are mainly considered a means of entertainment.

Survey contact person

Research director of Lagardère Active’s Youth division
Tiphaine de Raguenel - tiphaine.de-raguenel@lagardere-active.com

Press contacts

Publicis Full Player
Valérie Berrebi - +33 (0)1 58 36 46 86 -  valerie.berrebi@publicisfullplayer.fr

Lagardère Active Youth Division
Véronique Dumon - +33 (0)1 56 36 55 76 - veronique.dumon@lagardere-active.com

1. Polling conducted by TNS Sofres on 17-24 March 2008, with a representative sample of 300 parents of children aged 6 to 11.

2. An ethnological survey involving 20 home interviews conducted in cooperation with the EA Institute, analyzed by 20 child development experts (sociologists, psychologists, educators etc.).

*About the Gulli Observatory

As a leading producer of youth and children’s channels (CANAL J, TiJi and Gulli) and their associated websites, the Lagardère Active Youth division has been developing its children’s brands for over 20 years by listening to and talking with children. In 2007, it created L’Observatoire Gulli (the Gulli Observatory). The objectives of this permanent entity, entirely devoted to the study of children’s behaviour and habits, are to identify future perspectives and to enrich the reflection of institutional stakeholders and parents with a view to developing tomorrow’s content.

 

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