Insights Ofcom publishes its annual research into children’s and adults’ media use and online lives

According to Ofcom’s research, more than a third of internet users are unaware that online content might be false or biased. The research reveals that 30% of UK adults who go online (14.5 million) are unsure about, or do not even consider, the truthfulness of online information. A further 6%, around one in every twenty internet users, believe everything they see online.

Further, more than four in ten adults say they have seen a story on social media that looked deliberately untrue or misleading in the last year.

Although seven in ten adults (69%) said they were confident in identifying misinformation, only two in ten (22%) were able to correctly identify the tell-tale signs of a genuine post, without making mistakes. A similar pattern was seen amongst older children aged 12-17 (74% confident but only 11% able).

Other themes emerging in this year’s research include:

  • multiscreening TikTots: TikTok is growing in popularity, even among the youngest age groups; the popularity of short-form content could also be linked to multi-screening, with more children reporting difficulties in focusing on a single online activity;
  • concealing life online: many children could be tactically using other accounts or “finstas” (fake Instagrams) to conceal aspects of their online lives from parents;
  • scrolling over sharing: both adults (88%) and children (91%) are becoming more passive online and are three times as likely to watch videos online, than to post their own content; and
  • social Samaritans: young digital natives, who have never known life without the internet, are sharing their technical skills and supporting others; they are also increasingly using the internet as a means of supporting their own wellbeing.

For further information, click here.