7 in 10 young people have used expiring content in the last year – new research from Childnet

21 Jan 2020 Becca Cawthorne

Expiring content is a key part in many young people’s lives. Some online services have features which allow users to post things that will eventually expire. 

From Snapchat to Instagram stories, expiring content is a way of messaging and sharing photos that many young people use every day. Expiring – or ephemeral – content includes posts, messages and photos that disappear after they have been viewed, or that are only available for a certain amount of time.

This snapshot into how children and young people are using such technology is taken from a poll conducted in 2019 with over 1,000 young people aged 8-17 in the UK. We also asked the Childnet Digital Leaders to give their thoughts and experiences of expiring content, with 64 responding. The Digital Leaders also gave their tips to other young people on how to use expiring content.

The findings give us a clearer picture of how regularly young people use expiring content, what they use it for and what they feel about it.

Key findings are:

  • 7 in 10 young people aged 8-17 have used expiring content in some way over the past year
  • 86% of 13-17’s are using expiring content, compared to 62% of 8-12’s. 
  • Over 40% use expiring or disappearing content to message friends every day.
  • 65% of young people think it is worth reporting expiring content if it worries or upsets them, but only half of the Digital Leaders knew how to report an expiring post on the services they used.

Top Tips from Childnet Digital Leaders are:

  • Be positive
  • Remember screenshots of expiring content can be taken
  • Don’t post personal information
  • Think about what you are posting
  • Know how and when to report hurtful or harmful posts

The full report can be read on the Childnet website.

As partners in the UK Safer Internet Centre, Childnet have released these findings ahead of Safer Internet Day on February 11th. Safer Internet Day is a global celebration which aims to inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.  Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre the celebration sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

To get involved in the day, schools and organisations can:

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