Families with young kids eschewing landlines, traditional TV: study

The MTM's latest report found many Canadian families with kids under 7 are cellphone-only households without a TV subscription.

It’s no secret that the days of the whole family running to the couch to make an 8 p.m. viewing of its favourite family show are now considered the “olden days.” In the days of Netflix, OTT, mobile phones and social media, the way families consume together have almost done a 180. In fact, a new study by the Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has found that families with kids are increasingly likely to prefer non-traditional TV consumption, and are also beginning to eschew landlines.

The MTM’s report, which surveyed more than 4,000 Anglophone Canadians from regions across the country, dove into these changing media consumption habits of the country’s families.

The new ‘traditional’

Among all households with children, many (35%) were cell phone-only families, meaning they had forgone a traditional landline phone.

And some families with kids under seven years of age are also forgoing traditional TV subscriptions, with 32% opting for what the MTM dubs “TV My Way” – which it defines as people without a TV subscription or antenna, who instead watch TV content online.

But the options are increasingly bountiful, and families are still major consumers of tech and media. Families with kids under seven are more likely than the average Anglophone household to have at least four internet-connected screens. Fifty-three per cent of families with young children have four screens, compared with 37% of all Anglophone households

The overwhelming majority (90%) of the families surveyed have computers (including desktops and laptops) in the home. And the vast majority (more than 96%) also have an internet connection at home.

Most families with teens at home (86%) had a game console, with Nintendo’s Wii as the most popular console at 51%.

Families like social media

Most families, and in particular those with young kids, visited a social networking site in the past month. With 85% of households with kids under seven using social media, compared with 71% for Anglophone households in general.

Facebook is the most popular with all households with kids, with 82% of families with kids under seven using the popular social network in the past month. The runner-up for those with young kids was Facebook-owned Instagram at 49%.

Just under one third of Anglophone households in Canada have kids under 18 living at home, while 14% have kids under the age of seven, according to the MTM. And the majority (62%) of parents in these households tend to fall into the 35 to 49 years age group.