Ofcom Update : Social networking profiles almost double in two years

Ofcom’s UK Adults’ Media Literacy interim report published today revealed that almost twice as many internet users now say they have a social networking site profile than in 2007 (38 per cent up from 22 per cent). Some 41 per cent of users now say they use a social networking site daily, compared with 30 per cent two years ago. And three quarters of those with a social networking profile (76 per cent) now say that it can only be seen by family and friends, up from 48 per cent in 2007.

The research involved 812 in-home interviews with adults aged 16 and over from April to May 2009 and is designed to give an accessible overview of media literacy among UK adults aged 16 and over.

Other key findings

  • Since 2007 there has been considerable growth in household take-up of the internet among older adults aged 65 and over (41 per cent vs. 26 per cent) and those in low income households (51 per cent vs. 35 per cent). However, these figures are still at a much lower level compared to all UK adults (73 per cent).
  • There are some gender differences in what the internet is regularly used for - males are more likely than females to say they use the internet at least weekly for news (27 per cent vs. 16 per cent), while females are more likely than males to use the internet at least weekly for social networking (39 per cent vs. 28 per cent).
  • One in three UK adults who use the internet (29 per cent) are watching online or downloading TV programmes or films, with adults aged 25-34 more likely to do this (43 per cent) compared to other age groups. Almost all of these are doing so through UK TV broadcasters’ websites.
  • Internet users appear to be less willing to provide personal information online than was the case in 2007. Overall one in five (21 per cent) say they would never enter their credit card details online, and nearly one quarter (23 per cent) say they would never enter their mobile phone number, up from 17 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. Those who are more confident using the internet are more likely to say that they would be happy to provide personal information online. Older people are less likely to be happy to give their details.
  • Compared to 2007, people are more likely to think that content is regulated, whether it be on television, radio, the internet, gaming or mobile phones. For example, 38 per cent of people think that internet content is regulated, compared to 26 per cent in 2007.

The full research can be found here :

Bellaria, Italy, 21-24 October 2009

The second European Congress on Media Literacy brought together a variety of people interested in the subject to Bellaria, Italy. Euromeduc organised a congress for further exchange and reflection, addressed to professionals, researchers and other practitioners involved in media education; policy-makers in education and politics; and representatives from the media industry and the European institutions.

The congress provided an opportunity for exchange in order to address the major issues concerning Media Literacy in Europe, at a time when this field is gaining in appreciation. It also produced education recommendations and suggestions for action.

The congress not only followed three recently held seminars (in Paris, Brussels and Faro), professional media coaches also exchanged information and good practices. The results of the seminars and congress will be published in a final publication.

Ofcom update : Ofcom research reveals increase in internet access in children’s bedrooms

Ofcom’s UK Children’s Media Literacy interim report published today revealed that there has been an increase in children having internet access in their bedrooms – one third of 12-15s (35 per cent) now have access, and one in six 8-11s (16 per cent), up from 20 per cent and nine per cent respectively in 2007. Some 60 per cent of 12-15s and one third of 8-11s (35 per cent) say they use the internet mostly on their own. One in five (21 per cent) of 5-7s say they use the internet without an adult in the room.

Ofcom has published a guide to show parents and carers how to use parental controls and filters to manage their children’s access to digital TV and internet content. The guide also encourages parents and carers to talk to their children about what they do on the internet and how to use it safely :

Other key findings

  • Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of all parents with a child aged 5-15 are concerned that other people could locate their child through their mobile phone using location based services. Ofcom has today published a guide for parents and carers on how to help keep children safe when using location based services. The guide can be found here :
  • Young people are becoming more aware of privacy settings on social networking sites - 12-15 year olds are now more likely to say that their social networking site can only be seen by friends/family – 69 per cent compared to 59 per cent in 2008.
  • But one quarter don’t make any checks when visiting new websites - while two thirds of children aged 12-15 (66 per cent) say they make some kind of check when visiting new websites, a sizeable minority (25 per cent) do not tend to make any checks (such as padlocks, how up to date the information is, asking whether other people have visited it, known brand).
  • A mixed response from parents - nearly half of parents (whose children use the internet at home) say they have internet controls or filtering software in place (45 per cent). Those that don’t have various reasons – 13 per cent say they didn’t know such things were possible ; 41 per cent of parents of 8-11s say it’s because they usually supervise the child online ; and 66 per cent of parents of 12-15s say they trust their child.
  • 29 per cent of children from lower income households either only use the internet at school (14 per cent) or do not use it at all (15 per cent), compared to 7 per cent of children from higher income homes (two per cent only use at school ; five per cent don’t use at all). While take-up has increased in lower income households since 2008, it is still lower than for other socio-economic groups.

The full research can be found here :

Ofcom has also published research from Nielsen Netview on the 50 most popular websites among children aged 6-11 and 12-17. The full lists can be found here :