Almost 2 in 5 young people have seen fake news online
The Ofcom report found that in 2017 nine in ten 5-15 year olds (92%) are online, an increase from last year when 87% of this age were online. The research also found that more than half of 3-4 year olds (53%) and 79% of 5-7s are online.
Young people getting their news through social media
More than half (54%) of 12-15 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%).
However, many young people recognise that news they access on social media may not always be from a reputable source. Just 32% of 12-15 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.
Young people are questioning the content they see
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of online teens 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 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.
Positively, 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%)
- Assessing the professional quality of the article (20%)
The young people also had techniques for what to do if they saw fake news online: 35% said they would tell their parents or other family member; 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.