Twice every week I go to learn the Tabla, with kids that are so young that they make me feel ancient. These kids are between 6 to 13 years of age and heavily into online games and YouTube videos. The striking difference between their childhood and mine is always quite evident.
Last week I was amazed by a 9-year-olds’ reaction to the fact that 25 years ago there were no cell phones. He refused to believe that my generation did not grow up playing games online or indulged in interactive videos on YouTube.
This got me thinking what my childhood was like, where did we find our entertainment? My immediate thought was TV and outdoor games. Lack of space in urban cities and popularity of the internet has almost put an end to outdoor games like hide and seek, and hopscotch. But what went wrong with the TV? TV still exists and is widely used. So, what happened to all the kid centric channels and shows? I wondered why these kids aren’t watching the television as much my generation did.
That’s when I researched on this topic (online) and figured kids between 7-16 years of age spend 3 hours every day online and 15-16-year-old teenagers spend 4.8 hours online. These children barely spend 2.1 hours on Television that has gone down from 3 hours in the year 2000.
Availability of on demand shows wide range of videos in all categories and freedom of choosing the time and place of entertainment has put Television on the backseat. The emergence of tablets and easy availability of internet in every corner of the house led kids to opt the internet over television. Approx 67% of the youngsters own Tablets and prefer watching their favourite shows online way before they’re released on Television.
According to this year’s survey conducted by Simon Leggett, Childwise research director – “TV viewing has been redefined. Growing access to the internet at any time and in any place and a blurring of television content across channels and devices brings a landmark change in behaviour this year. Children are now seeking out the content of their choice. They still find traditional TV programmes engaging but are increasingly watching them online and on-demand or binge watching box sets.”