More young children are being allowed to watch adult TV programmes as the number of hours they spend in front of the set continues to rise, a survey has revealed.
It discloses that 21 per cent of boys and 13 per cent of girls aged seven and eight are allowed to watch television after the nine o'clock watershed during the week. At weekends the figures rise dramatically to 62 per cent of boys and 53 per cent of girls.
Late night viewing is also increasing among the very young.
At the weekend, 18 per cent of seven and eight-year-old boys and 9 per cent of girls watch after 11pm.
The 1995 schools survey - carried out by the Business Development Partnership (BDP), a sales promotion consultancy, for the benefit of advertising clients - involved more than 1,100 children aged seven to 16 from state and private schools around the UK. Questions covered 62 categories ranging from favourite crisp flavours to career aspirations.
It showed that children are increasingly glued to the TV set, with 26 per cent of boys and 13 per cent of girls watching more than nine hours of TV on a single day at the weekend.
During the week, an average 34 per cent of boys and 41 per cent of girls watch for three to four hours with older children being the most committed viewers.
The news, however, is not all doom and gloom.
Maths, the traditionally feared school subject, comes top of the league for boys aged nine to 10, 44 per cent of whom listed it as their favourite subject.
The Sun is the favourite national newspaper for both boys and girls, and is more popular with boys than any other type of publication such as comics, music, sport or computer magazines. The Times is the most popular daily broadsheet, although it is only read by an average 9 per cent of boys and girls.