Over half the world’s school children are now at home and research in the UK and US shows they are already filling their time by looking at screens.

Kids aged six to 12 in the US say they are now spending a minimum of 50% more time in front of a screen of one type or another every day, according to research by SuperAwesome, a children’s tech company.

Most of this age group say they use screens either “a lot more” (at least 50% more), twice as much, or for what they describe as “most of the day” as a result of having to stay indoors and away from people outside their household because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Says Dylan Collins, CEO of SuperAwesome, “Overall, kids are effectively going to be spending 2.5–3x more hours of day in front of a digital screen than they historically would have.”

It seems, though, that UK youngsters are slightly more likely to take part in family-based activities – such as board games and table-top games – than their US counterparts.

In the US, the tablet is children’s preferred device followed by phones; and a long way behind come connected TVs and desktops.

SuperAwesome says traffic to kids’ apps and digital services is up almost 70% in the US, with tablet traffic almost tripling, and phone traffic doubling. Connected TV use is considerably higher in the US than the UK, but usage seems to be levelling off as more schools are starting remote work.

Typically, over the past few weeks, girls have been using chat apps and TikTok more than boys, who are much more interested in gaming. But, overall, streaming videos is the most popular activity across the six to 12+ age range, followed by TV and games.

The most popular streaming brands are Netflix, followed by Amazon, YouTube, Apple and Disney+.

Media agency the7stars found similar results in the UK when it looked at Gen Z’s attitude to school closures and how that age group would be filling its time.

Schoolwork wasn’t high on the agenda – 55% said they planned to discover new TV shows and movies, and 43% said they would stream more music and podcasts.

Sourced from SuperAwesome, the7stars; additional content by WARC staff