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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
More children have TV 'in bedrooms'
Children watching TV
A third of under-fours have a TV in their bedrooms
The number of young children with televisions in their bedrooms has increased, according to research by the Independent Television Commission (ITC).

More than a third of children under the age of four (36%) have a television in their bedroom, with 14% having a video recorder as well.

More than half of children under the age of 16 (52%) had a television in their bedrooms.

Parents who watched a lot of television themselves were found to be more likely to allow their children to watch it.

The results come as part of the ITC's annual survey of viewing habits in the UK Television: The Public's View.


However, the despite the increased viewing among children, parents are also readier to prevent their children watching "unsuitable" material.

Forty-seven per cent of parents surveyed said they had prevented their children from watching programmes because they felt they were inappropriate.

Child watches TV
UK children between six and 16 spend about three hours a day watching TV

And 66% of those surveyed said that parents had to take the main responsibility for their children's viewing habits.

Violent content was most likely to cause viewers to completely turn off their televisions.

Elsewhere, the survey stated that 26% of viewers switched off after seeing violence, 24% because of offensive language and 22% because of sex and nudity.

Parents have become increasingly used to showing videos of films or recorded programmes to their children in place of television programmes, explaining the rise in video recorders in children's bedrooms.

The ITC is not the only body to have recently analysed young viewers' TV habits.

A book published last month found that British children spend more time in front of the TV than any of their European contemporaries.

Children and their Changing Media Environment says UK children aged six to 16 spend about three hours a day watching TV compared with two hours elsewhere in Europe.


This year's ITC survey also saw an overall decline in VCR ownership and usage.

Twenty-nine per cent of respondents had used their VCR to record a programme - to watch later - more than once a week, compared with 39% in 1999.

The survey results also showed that UK households are becoming much more new technology friendly.

The minority of households with widescreen televisions had doubled from eight per cent in 1999 to 16% in 2000.

Access to the internet rose to 34% of respondents in 2000, compared with 24% in 1999. Six per cent said they accessed the internet via the television.

One half of all respondents thought that interactive TV services offered "a valuable service to viewers".

Satisfaction with the TV services on offer was higher amongst multi-channel subscribers than terrestrial-only viewers.

ITV remained the favourite channel if viewers could pick only one and the average number of hours spent watching TV each week was 26.

The BBC's Karen Bowerman
"Experts fear UK children are turning into TV addicts"
Professor Sonia Livingstone
"British children are spending five hours a day with the media"
See also:

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