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Kids now spend more time online than watching TV

Source: Roy Morgan Young Australians Survey, January 2007 to December 2016, average annual sample = 3,150 Australians aged 6 to 13.

Well, it’s finally happened: Australian kids now spend more time using the internet than watching television, Roy Morgan’s Young Australians Survey shows—but when it comes to at-home entertainment, TV still reigns…for now.

Today’s Australian kids aged six to 13 spend an average of almost 12 hours a week using the internet, almost double the six-and-a-bit hours a week kids spent online in 2008. Including all internet use at home, school or elsewhere, the time spent online has risen consistently over the period, increasing by an average 42 minutes each year. 

Over the past eight years, rising internet use has taken time away from watching television—and in 2016 overtook it as the more time-consuming media among kids. In 2008, the average Australian youngster spent over 14.5 hours a week in front of the box; by 2016, this had declined to 10.5 hours.   

However, as Roy Morgan has previously reported among Australians 14-plus, a fair comparison means looking just at what kids spend their time doing when at home. Almost 30 percent of kids’ internet usage is done outside the home, at school or elsewhere (when television isn’t as an option).

At home, kids spend just almost eight and a half hours a week using the internet—still around two hours less than they spend watching TV.

Changes in how Aussie kids spend their time

Source: Roy Morgan Young Australians Survey, January 2007 to December 2016, average annual sample = 3,150 Australians aged 6 to 13.

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“As of last year, Aussie kids now spend more time each week using the internet than watching television.

“However, not including the hours spent online while at school or out and about, TV remains the more popular medium at home. The trend indicates that it could be a few years yet before kids are spending more of their quality home-time in front of computer (or tablet or mobile) than the television.

“The internet is taking time away from TV in large part because it’s what many kids now treat as television. Watching online videos is the most common internet activity, something two-thirds of kids do in an average four weeks. Almost one in four kids say YouTube is their number one favourite website.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%