Tech-savvy kids still prefer personal communication by Jeremy Dickson

The new 2012 ChildWise Monitor survey takes a look at how children ages five to 16 years in the UK use technology and finds that despite unprecedented access to virtual worlds, children still prefer to communicate face to face.

It is the top communication channel for children talking about something serious (53%), for having a private conversation (43%, compared with 13% for phone and 11% for text), and for talking about last night’s TV (33%, compared with 21% for social networking sites, 16% for texting).

However, mobile phones are still increasingly important in the lives of this age group especially kids ages 11 and up.

Six out of 10 children ages seven to 16 have a mobile phone that can access the internet (61%), increasing to three in four among 11- to 16-year-olds (77%).

The survey’s results also support the popularity of eReaders especially among younger children and boys. Almost one in 10 five- to 16-year-olds now have an eReader (9%), highest among younger boys (14% of boys aged 5-10 years).

Reading every day is still a hard sell for children as only a minority of children read for pleasure every day (30% read books every day, 15% read magazines), but most read on occasion.

Seventy-eight percent of five- to 16-year-olds read books at all, and more than one in four read books or magazines for an hour a day or more (28%). Two thirds of nine- to 16-year-olds read online (69%) – reviews, stories, news, blogs and books.

For the survey, 2,770 children ages five to 16 years were interviewed via 108 schools across the UK during fall 2011. Full survey results can be found in the annual ChildWise Monitor Report 2011-12.

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