More young people are turning to YouTube for true and accurate information – Ofcom report reveals

20 Nov 2015 UK SIC

Ofcom’s latest report, Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report, has revealed that the number of children believing everything they read on Google and social media sites has doubled.

Compared to 2014, there have been increases in the numbers of 8-11s and 12-15s who visit news websites or apps and who answer that all the information on these sites is true (23% vs. 12% for 8-11s and 14% vs. 8% for 12-15s). There has also been an increase in the number of 8-11s who say this for sites used for used for school work or homework (28% vs. 20%) and among 12-15s, who say this for social media sites or apps (9% vs. 4%).

With YouTube having grown in popularity, more young people are turning to the site for true and accurate information, up from 3% in 2014 to 8% in 2015. 

But just half of 12 to 15-year-olds who watch YouTube are aware that advertising is the main source of funding on the site and less than one in six 8-11s and a third of 12-15s in 2015 are able to correctly identify advertising displayed in online search results.  Also less than half of 12-15s are aware of paid endorsements by vloggers or personalised advertising

Parents are concerned about advertising and about collection and use of children’s personal information.  As the report shows:

  • In 2015 at least three in ten parents of 5-15s whose child goes online say they are concerned about companies collecting information about what their child is doing online (34%) or about their child giving out personal details online to inappropriate people (32%).  A quarter of parents of 5-15s whose child plays games are concerned about the amount of advertising in games (24%) with one in five (21%) concerned about their child feeling pressured to make in-game purchases.

The report reveals that parents feel they know enough to help their child manage online risks and that almost all children, 8-11 (96% vs. 90%) or 12-15 (97% vs. 94%), are more likely than in 2014 to recall receiving advice about online risks, particularly from their parents. 

The large majority said they would tell their parents, another family member or a teacher if they saw something online they found worrying, nasty or offensive, but 6 per cent said they would not tell anyone.

Ofcom’s Children and parents: media use and attitudes report examines children’s media literacy. It provides detailed evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 5-15, as well as detailed information about the media access and use of young children aged 3-4.  You can download the full report here –

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