Friday, July 07, 2017

UK Adults' media literacy: information sharing; trust and use of social media; mobile devices

Ofcom's annual (UK) Adults' media use and attitudes report was published last month. It gives "gives detailed evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among UK adults aged 16+. It covers TV, radio, mobile phones, games, and the internet, with a particular focus on the latter."
This is based on substantial research: "interviews with 1,846 adults aged 16 and over in November and December 2016 .... supplemented with data from another Ofcom research study, the Technology Tracker survey in 2017 based on 3743 interviews with adults aged 16 and over in January and February 2017."
The points they highlight in the introduction are:
- Older people are embracing smart and social technology (this includes 75+ age group) These findings were highlighted in a feature at
- Smartphones are becoming an essential tool for navigating daily life… but some things are still more difficult on a smartphone ("there are certain activities they prefer not to do on a smartphone, such as watching TV or doing school or college work")
- Managing mobile data can be a challenge (by this is meant working out what they can do with the data allowance in their mobile phone package, conserving it by using free wifi etc.)
- People are using a broader range of social media to communicate with different groups
- Sharing with friends and family is an important route to discovering new information and content.
- There has been a slight decline in trust in social media content
- Many are thinking carefully about the trustworthiness of the content they encounter.
- People are opting to communicate via private group discussions
- The majority of internet users (72%) say that they are confident in their ability to manage access to their personal data online.
- Most internet users make some checks to judge the accuracy of factual information online.
- Tthere is a continuing gap between confidence, knowledge and behaviour in understanding how the internet works. "most internet users describe themselves as confident online (89%) ... However, this online confidence does not necessarily translate into an understanding of the way the internet operates. Although 97% of internet users have used search engines as a source of online information there is a continuing lack of understanding about how search engines work, and just under half of all adults do not know how search engines are funded (47%)."
- While the majority of internet users are confident they can recognise advertising online, only half of search engine users could recognise adverts on Google
The report (with the main parts available both in English and Welsh) together with data tables etc. is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: spot the cones, Inverness, June 2017

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