New research from iGen-insight shows that four in ten parents impose limits on amount of TV time.

Children watch an hour of TV a day by the age of two

Television still has a major role in the life of the under fives, according to new interviews conducted by youth and family specialist agency, iGen-insight.

The firm found that, in the commercial pre-school space, almost half of the adult impacts delivered in children’s airtime are from stations aimed at the under fives.

On top of this, parents claim that by the age of two, children are watching at least an hour a day on average. As viewing data for older children shows claimed viewing is generally lower than actual behaviour, it follows that this figure may actually be higher in reality.

Perhaps most surprisingly though, only four in ten parents said they imposed limits on
the amount of TV their pre-schooler was allowed to watch.

Farah Shah, head of insight at iGen-Insight, explained to ToyNews: “TV is often used as a child friendly clock to signpost times (for example, now it’s time for lunch) and though many parents said they occasionally used TV to give them time for household chores, only a third said they regularly did so.

“The most encouraging news for marketeers concerned about how much attention a parent is paying to the screen, is that 79 per cent said they always or almost always supervised their child’s viewing.

“There is also strong evidence that pre-school viewing is extending off the main screen. 63 per cent of parents said they had streamed TV content for their child from YouTube and 41 per cent had used a mobile phone to show TV content to their child.”

When it came to advertising, iGen-Insight’s research found that parents perception is that their under fives were seeing on average 17 adverts a week.

Of those that had children old enough to express an interest, over half said their children had asked for or pointed out something they had seen on TV. Four out of ten parents said they had gone on to buy or further research a product.

Shah concluded: “Overall, nine out of ten parents said they would miss the children’s channels if they closed tomorrow, so it seems despite the doomsayers, pre-school TV does have a bright future.”

iGen-insight is a market and consumer research agency specialising in youth and family insight. Formed in 2011 to initially meet the insight needs of the toys and games market, it now works with brands and companies across a variety of family and youth orientated sectors.

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