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Tweens would miss web and mobes more than TV

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For the first time ever, 12- to 15-year-olds in the UK would miss their mobile and the internet more than they would miss watching the telly.

More than a quarter of the tween bracket would miss their mobile most (28 per cent), while 25 per cent would miss the web and 18 per cent listed TV, according to an Ofcom survey.

The regulator attributed the increase in kids online with the rising number of internet-connected homes. The study found that 91 per cent of the 5 to 15s were living in a house with internet access this year, compared to 87 per cent in 2010.

However, in case you think your young 'un isn't hooked on Glee, Gossip Girl or the X Factor, the survey also found that kids were watching more TV than ever. Last year, children aged 4 to 15 watched an average of 17 hours and 34 minutes of TV a week, compared with 15 hours and 37 minutes in 2007, according to stats from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board.

The figures match up because nearly a third of kids aged 5 to 15, who use the net at home, were using it to catch-up on their favourite programmes on services including the BBC or ITV players, thereby combining their telly-watching with their internet usage.

The 12- to 15-year-olds spend most of the rest of their time on the net, while for 5- to 11-year-olds the next best thing is gaming.

When it comes to mobiles, the number of children going online on their phone at home has gone up since 2010, driven by a corresponding rise in the amount of smartphone owners amongst the yoof.

Safety-wise, kids are less likely to use the net alone this year, with 32 per cent saying they would versus 36 per cent in 2010 and more likely to go surfing in the presence of an adult – 59 per cent vs 55 per cent.

They're also pretty savvy about the risks, particularly on social networking sites. A third of 8-to-15s who were on a social network said they were most concerned about the possibility of getting bullied online or that strangers could find things out about them. Only 5 per cent of 8-to-11s and 7 per cent of 12-to-15s said they had had experience of being bullied in the last year.

You can see the full results of the survey of 1,054 parents and 768 kids here (PDF). ®

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