Older children are getting wise to fake news

Highlights from the latest Ofcom, Children and Parents Media Use and Attitudes Report 2017


Ofcom Fake NewsOlder children are less trusting of news on social media than from other sources, and employ a range of measures to separate fact from fiction, Ofcom research has found.

More than half (54%) of 12- to 15-year-olds use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, to access online news, making it the second most popular source of news after television (62%).

The news that children read via social media is provided by third-party websites. While some of these may be reputable news organisations, others may not.

But many children are wise to these risks. Just 32% of 12- to 15-year-olds who say social media is one of their top news sources believe news accessed through these sites is always, or mostly, reported truthfully, compared to 59% who say this about TV and 59% about radio.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of online tweens are aware of the concept of ‘fake news’, and four in ten (39%) say they have seen a fake news story online or on social media.

The findings are from Ofcom’s Children and Parents Media Use and Attitudes Report 2017. This year, the report examines for the first time how children aged 12 to15 consume news and online content.

Filtering fake news
The vast majority of 12-15s who follow news on social media are questioning the content they see. Almost nine in ten (86%) say they would make at least one practical attempt to check whether a social media news story is true or false.

The main approaches older children say they would take include:

  • seeing if the news story appears elsewhere (48% of children who follow news on social media would do this);
  • reading comments after the news report in a bid to verify its authenticity (39%);
  • checking whether the organisation behind it is one they trust (26%); and
  • assessing the professional quality of the article (20%).

    Some 63% of 12- to 15-year-olds who are aware of fake news are prepared to do something about it, with 35% saying they would tell their parents or other family member. Meanwhile, 18% would leave a comment saying they thought the news story was fake; and 14% would report the content to the social media website directly.

    But some children still need help telling fact from fiction, almost half (46%) of 12-15s who use social media for news say they find it difficult to tell whether a social media news story is true and 8% say they wouldn’t make any checks.

    Emily Keaney, Head of Children’s Research at Ofcom, said: “Most older children now use social media to access news, so it’s vitally important they can take time to evaluate what they read, particularly as it isn’t always easy to tell fact from fiction.

    “It’s reassuring that almost all children now say they have strategies for checking whether a social media news story is true or false. There may be two reasons behind this: lower trust in news shared through social media, but the digital generation are also becoming savvy online.

    Children’s online lives
    More children are using the internet than ever before. Nine in ten (92% of 5- to 15-year-olds) are online in 2017 – up from 87% last year.

    More than half of pre-schoolers (53% of 3-4s) and 79% of 5-7s are online – a year-on-year increase of 12 percentage points for both these age groups.

    Much of this growth is driven by the increased use of tablets: 65% of 3-4s, and 75% of 5-7s now use these devices at home – up from 55% and 67% respectively in 2016.

    Children’s social media preferences have also shifted over recent years. In 2014, 69% of 12-15s had a social media profile, and most of these (66%) said their main profile was on Facebook. The number of 12-15s with a profile now stands at 74%, while the number of these who say Facebook is their main profile has dropped to 40%.

    In contrast, Snapchat has rapidly grown in popularity among this ‘tween’ group. More than three in ten (32%) say it’s their main social media profile, up from just 3% in 2014.

    Though most social media platforms require users to be 13 or over, they are very popular with younger children. More than a quarter (28%) of 10-year-olds have a social media profile, rising to around half of children aged 11 or 12 (46% and 51% respectively).

    Awareness of the required minimum age is low among parents. Six in ten parents of children who use Facebook (62%), and around eight in ten parents of children who use Instagram or Snapchat (79% and 85%) either didn’t know there was an age restriction, or gave the incorrect age.

    Many parents choose not to apply minimum age limits. Among parents of children aged between 5 and 15, over four in ten (43%) said they would allow their child to use social media sites ahead of them reaching the minimum age required.

    One reason for this could be that nearly all parents of 5-15 year olds (96%) say they mediate their children’s use of the internet. This includes having regular conversations with their child about online safety, using technical tools such as network-level filters, imposing rules about internet use, or directly supervising their child. Two in five parents (40%) use all four methods.

    More parents of children aged 5 to 15 are using network-level filters at home – 37% did so last year, nearly twice the level in 2014.

    Aside from social media, one of the primary online destinations for children of all ages is YouTube, with eight in ten (81%) children aged 5 to 15 regularly using the website to watch short clips or programmes.

    Among older children, YouTube is the most recognised content brand; 94% of 12-15s have heard of it compared to 89% for ITV, 87% for Netflix, and 82% for BBC One and Two.

    Negative online experiences
    Half of children (49%) aged 12 to 15 who use the internet say they ‘never’ see hateful content online. But the proportion of children who have increased this year, from 34% in 2016 to 45% in 2017.

    More than a third (37%) of children who saw this type of content took some action. The most common response was to report it to the website in question (17%). Other steps included adding a counter-comment to say they thought it was wrong (13%), and blocking the person who shared or made the hateful comments (12%).

    Media lives by age: a snapshot
    Ofcom Media Lives by Age



  • Written by Safeguarding Essentials on December 21, 2017 09:53

    For children and teenagers, it is increasingly all about mobile

    Monitor Report 2017This year sees the resurgence of the mobile phone among five to 16 year olds, according to the latest 2017 CHILDWISE Monitor Report. Smartphones are now the default device for music, online access, gaming, video content and reading (after printed books), as young people seek endless entertainment - anywhere and everywhere.

    The new data shows the extent to which the mobile phone now dominates children’s media experiences, with ownership increasing steadily – especially among primary aged children – and usage more varied than ever before. For the first time ever, children are now more likely to use their mobile phone to go online than for any other purpose, including texting or calling.

    The 2017 CHILDWISE Monitor is a comprehensive annual report looking at five to 16 year olds media consumption, purchasing and social habits as well as key behaviour. Around 2000 children in schools across the United Kingdom completed in-depth online surveys for the report.

    The report also reveals that tablet ownership has reached saturation point after years of rapid growth. Two thirds of children have their own touchscreen tablet at home.

    Simon Leggett, research director from CHILDWISE says: “Our research suggests that children now expect to be constantly entertained. They want to fill every free moment they have. Tablets were a gateway to apps and the internet for many children – they were the technology of choice and widely endorsed by parents. Children now expect the same level of functionality when they’re out and about, and the mobile phone delivers that” says Simon.

    “Children expect to access their favourite media at all times, whether it is games, music, video content or social media,” adds Simon Leggett. The report suggests that it is unlikely that tablet growth will increase much further, with two in three children now owning one.

    “Tablets are not as portable as mobile phones and they don’t work ‘on the go’ as easily as a mobile phone. This is why we have seen a modest resurgence of the mobile phone, which children can have with them and use at all times to fill any moment of boredom with gaming, viewing YouTube videos, catching up with social media or listening to music.”

    “The mobile phone is increasingly becoming a preferred go-to multimedia gadget for children overall. For primary aged children particularly, exposure to what a tablet can offer has left them wanting more, especially when they are outside the home.”

    “Children are now becoming adept at the positive skills of multi-tasking, prioritising and filtering through the huge amount of content available to them. When they find something that interests them, they will engage fully.”

    Most children say their use of technology helps them learn and develop new interests. However, a significant minority are concerned about their over reliance on them. Around one in four find it difficult to go several hours without checking them, say they have missed out on sleep because they have spent too long on gadgets and would like to spend more time away from them.

    Three in 10 children say they have to check their connected devices every few minutes.

    Most teenagers break rules set for them for internet use and a significant minority of nine to 12 year olds go online longer than they are allowed, or when they shouldn’t.

    Findings of the report also include…

    • Children claim to use the internet for an average of three hours a day. One in eight say they spend more than six hours online per day.
    • Social networking sites are more popular than texting for children to keep in touch with one another outside school.
    • YouTube is the most popular website among children this year, far ahead of second place favourite Snapchat, and is the most popular video on demand service, ahead of second place Netflix - almost all children use YouTube.
    • Children are now just as likely to watch content on their mobile phone as on a TV set.
    • A quarter of nine to 16s turn off or get around safety controls when they go online.

    CHILDWISE is an independent market research agency specialising in children and young people. CHILDWISE has a programme of published independent research and also conducts research for government agencies, charities, broadcasters, publishers and brands www.childwise.co.uk

    The Monitor Report 2017 covers... Tablets and technology; websites and applications; gaming, YouTube; mobile phones; TV viewing; video on demand; music; reading; children’s equipment; money; purchasing; sports & activities; health & wellbeing and social awareness.

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on January 27, 2017 11:28

    Worldwide research into the benefits and risk of Internet use by young people

    Global Kids Online research confirms that the majority of children say they learn something new online at least every week, but large numbers still face risks online.


    Global Kids OnlineThe Global Kids Online project, launched earlier this week (1st November) at the Children’s Lives in the Digital Age seminar held at UNICEF Headquarters in New York, aims to build a global network of researchers using their research toolkit to investigate the risks and opportunities of child Internet use.

    Their initial research, carried out in Argentina, the Philippines, Serbia and South Africa, with support from UNICEF country offices, piloted the research toolkit, with the results being compared and combined to demonstrate both similarities and differences between countries.

    The key findings of the pilot research include:

    1. Children predominantly access the Internet at home and through mobile devices - Children in all four countries report that they most frequently go online at home. Access to the Internet through schools is not as common

    2. The majority of children learn something new by searching the Internet - Most children who use the Internet say they learn something new online at least every week.

    3. Younger Internet users lack the digital skills of their older peers - There is a clear age trend in all four countries in terms of children’s self-reported ability to check if information they find online is true.

    4. Younger children’s digital safety skills also need support - Most of the older children, but fewer younger children, report knowing how to manage their privacy settings online, a key indication of their digital and safety skills.

    5. A substantial minority of young Internet users have had contact with unknown people online - Between 19 per cent (in the Philippines) and 41 per cent of children (in Serbia and South Africa) have been in touch online with somebody they have not met in person.

    6. Argentinian children are most likely to report having been bothered or upset online in the past year - Between a fifth (in South Africa) and three-quarters (in Argentina) of children report feeling upset about something that happened online, with older children reporting more incidents.

    7. Countries vary in the amount of risks encountered and the balance with online opportunities - As many as one third of children in Serbia reported being treated in a hurtful way by their peers, online or offline, though in South Africa and the Philippines only a fifth said this had happened to them.

    8. Children are most likely to seek support from a friend, and rarely from a teacher - In all four countries, the most common source of support is friends – between a third and two-thirds of children spoke to a friend the last time something upsetting happened online. Few children confided in a teacher, and the follow-up survey questions suggested that few children had received e-safety or digital literacy teaching at school.

    One of the conclusions of the findings suggests that, “children are generally positive about the opportunities available for them online. However, children do not use the Internet in schools as much as expected and they generally do not see teachers as those they could confide in about what bothers them online”.

    The toolkit is being made available for researchers to utilise allowing the research to be broadened globally. The project aims “to connect evidence with the ongoing international dialogue regarding policy and practical solutions for children’s well-being and rights in the digital age, especially in countries where the Internet is only recently reaching the mass market”.

    More information about the project and a full copy of the pilot research findings can be found at blogs.lse.ac.uk/gko/

    Written by Safeguarding Essentials on November 03, 2016 12:04


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