Ireland weaning a nation of TV addicts

17 Dec 2007

Over half (51pc) of Irish children spend between 1.5 hours and three hours a day watching TV, compared with the European average of 40pc.

And, according to the pan-European survey by UPC, as Irish children get older they spend even more time in front of the box. Some 60pc of children — aged six-to-12 years — watch between 1.5 and three hours a day.

UPC’s survey spanned 6,000 parents in 13 countries.

The survey found that Irish parents take a more active role than their European counterparts in deciding what the family watches, with 57pc of parents and children consulting on what to watch, compared with the European average of 43pc.

Irish families also spend more time together watching TV together than the European norm. Only 5pc say they rarely watch TV together, compared with the European average of 18pc.

“It’s clear that TV viewing in Ireland remains essentially with parents taking an active role in deciding what kids watch and the importance of family watching television together, much more than the European average,” explained Simon Kelehan, head of TV at UPC Ireland.

“Irish parents, in particular, recognise the improved range and choice of content for children, which is a result of the increased availability of digital TV in Ireland.”

Some 49pc of Irish families watch movies and light entertainment together, compared with 28pc of Dutch families and 23pc of Hungarian families.

Forty-three percent of Irish parents allow small children to watch TV from a younger age, compared with the European average of 29pc.

In other countries, parents wait until their children are older, averaging from three years of age and upwards.

Sixty percent of Irish parents felt that the number of children’s TV progrmmes is on the rise, compared with 32pc of their European counterparts.

By John Kennedy