multitasking" children are living their daily lives to the accompaniment of television, according to a survey of British young people's media habits. They watch TV befare they go to schoo], when they return home, as they eat their evening meal and then in bed at night. The survey 01 live to 16-year¬olds shows that four out of five children now have a TV set in their bedroom. Television has become so widespread that many children now combine it with other activities, including social networking online, looking from their laptop to the TV screen and back again. Even il they are concentrating on the television, young people are now unwilling to watch just one programme, with boys in particular often switching between channels. The survey will increase worries that childhood is increasingly about private space and sedentary activities and less about what it used to be: play, social interaction or the child's own imagination. Internet use is also continuing to increase rapidly. This means British children spend an average of five hours and 20 minutes in front of a sereen a day, up trorn four hours and 40 minutes five years ago. Reading books for pleasure, on the other hand, eontinues to decline as a regular pastime. Rosemary Dutt, Childwise researeh director, said television was now "a part of ehildren's lives", but added that the quality of viewing had changed. "People used to pay more attention when they watched television. It used to be less widespread but much higher in its importanee. Now it is widespread but just part of the background". The survey shows a rise in Internet use, particularly among younger ehildren. Communication, says the report, "has overtaken fun (e.g. online games) as the main reason to use fhe Internet and stuoy is now far behind". Almost three quarters ot children have visited a social networking site and children as young as eight are now signing up.