Ofcom’s annual Children’s Media Literacy Audit published

Ofcom’s annual Children’s Media Literacy Audit has been published today with updated findings. The 3rd annual report, is designed to give an overview of media literacy among UK children and young people aged 5-15 and their parents/ carers.

Some interesting new findings to ponder…

Social Networking

  • A quarter of children aged 8-12 who use the internet at home say they have a profile on Facebook (19%), Bebo (11%)  or MySpace (4%) (Bearing in mind all these sites have a minimum user age of 13).
  • 83% of these children have their profile set so that it can only be seen by friends, and 4% have a profile that can’t be seen. 
  • Nine in ten parents of these children who are aware that their child visits social networking sites (93 per cent) also say that they check what their child is doing on these types of sites. However one in six (17 per cent) parents of this group are not aware that their child visits social networking sites.
  • Just over a third (37%) of 5-7 year old who use the internet at home said they visited Facebook in October 2009 (but did not necessarily have a profile).
  • Seven in ten (70%) 12-15s with the internet at home have a social networking site profile.

Downloading TV, Film and Videos


  •  Downloading or watching TV programmes or films on the internet has increased by 4% in the past year by children aged 8-15 who use the internet at home (from 17% in 2008 to 21% in 2009)
  • 44% of 12-15s say they think that downloading shared copies of films and music for free should not be illegal, with 18% saying they don’t know and 38% saying it should be illegal.
  • Boys aged 12-15 are more likely to say it should not be illegal (48%). 

Seeing is believing…

  • Blogs or sites like Wikipedia where people can add or change information are visited by one in five (18%) of 8-11s and half of 12-15s (4%) who use the internet at home.
  • Users of these sites aged 8-11 are much more likely than 12-15s to believe that the information on these types of sites is all or mostly true (70% vs. 48%) with boys aged 8-15 more likely than girls of this age to believe that all or most of the information is true (59% vs. 46%).
  • Two in five users of social networking sites aged 8-11 and 12-15 also believe that all or most of the information on these sites is true (38% and 40% respectively).
  • One in four 12-15s (27%) who use search engines think that search engines only return results from websites with truthful information. 

Children’s internet use, access and attitudes

  • One in eight children aged 8-11 (12%) and three in ten 12-15s (31%) have internet access in their bedroom.
  • Seven in ten 8-11s (71%) and three in four 12-15s (74%) have a games console in their bedroom. 
  • One in six (16%) children say that “it’s easier to keep things private or secret on the internet than it is in real life” 
  • One in seven (14%)children aged 8-15 saying they “feel more confident online than they do in real life” or that “it’s easier to talk about personal things on the internet”.

Parental awareness and attitudes

  • 85% said “I trust my child to use the internet safely”
  • Four in five (79%) parents said “My child has been taught at school how to use the internet safely”
  • Three in five (61%) said that “My child knows more about the internet than I do”. 
  • Parental rules for TV, the internet and games are in place for between 80-90% of 5-11s
  • 43% of parents of children aged 5-15 say they have controls or filtering software in place at home
  • 14% of parents of 5-15s without controls in place say they either haven’t heard of, or don’t know how to set up, internet controls or filtering software


For more information and full details:

The full news release can be found here

The full Children’s Media Literacy audit can be found here


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