Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Less Television for Kids

Harley Manoloto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - In an article at www.familytech.com, writer Kali Muir writes: “Gone are the days when children [would] rush home from school to catch their favorite program on television.” Today, Muir cites, most children wouldn’t even know how to navigate the channels on a traditional TV. It may sound like good news for parents.

But it’s not really that today’s kids are veering away from the time-wasting habit of too much TV. In fact, rather than being ruled by network programming, today’s kids are taking their viewing experience into their hands. And it might be more worrisome for parents.

With the rise of digital video recorders (DVRs) and subscription video-on-demand services, binge-watching is becoming the norm, especially among young people. Not as much with DVR, video-on-demand subscription is rising at a significant rate. This means more children than ever are choosing the internet over television, says Muir.

The novelty of the technology easily draws children to it – they have immediate access to their favorite shows. Moreover, there are several video-on-demand service providers to choose from. A study in the United Kingdom has found that children between the ages of five and 15 spends an average of three hours on the internet and two hours watching television every day, Muir relates.

A subsequent study, Muir continues, has found that young people between the ages of 13 and 24 spends just over 12 hours per week on YouTube and social media, plus an additional 8.8 hours per week on various subscription on-demand mediums. This equates to watching two and a half times more internet video than television.

What are children and youth watching online? And what does this mean for the television industry? Currently, an astounding 50 percent of UK households have some form of subscription video-on-demand services. This means children have more access than ever to on-demand content. But then again, this is in the UK.

And yet the Filipino youth may not be really far behind. Their online time has already been high, particularly in social media. As subscription video-on-demand is being introduced in the country, it is not far-fetched that it’s going to be the next big thing in the Philippines very soon.

The use of free online media by Filipino children is already significant.  It is not hard to imagine the scenario when subscription video-on-demand is added in.  The most common types of videos accessed by UK kids include music videos, how-to tutorials, and funny videos. These look like appealing to Filipino kids as well.

It’s easy to figure out the online media appeal. It’s readily available entertainment, a handy stress reliever and boredom killer. And it fits perfectly with the ways of today’s “instant” generation.

An added appeal of subscription video-on-demand is the fact that it allows young people to shows of their own choosing, at their own time. They no longer have to contend with what is offered on free or cable TV.

This new trend in media consumption is redefining the viewing experience of young people. As they turn away from the television, they turn inward towards handheld devices like tablets and smartphones. By that, parents have less control – or none at all – over what their kids are watching. (FREEMAN)

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