[DIGITAL] New Media Literacy Bulletin from @Ofcom

[DIGITAL] New Media Literacy Bulletin from @Ofcom

July’s media bulletin from @Ofcom was released today, highlighting four reports that Ofcom have produced – essential reading for understanding the UK’s digital environment:

Key finding from ‘Adults: Media Use and Attitudes 2019‘ report from Ofcom:

  • Mobile phones are increasingly integral to everyday life and half of adults now say, of all devices, they would miss their mobile phone the most.
  • One in three adults never use a computer to go online and one in ten only use a smartphone, an increase since 2017. • Video-on-demand and streamed content is becoming a central part of adults’ viewing landscape.
  • Social media users are less likely than in 2017 to see views they disagree with on social media.
  • Compared to 2017, internet users are more likely to have encountered hateful content online, however most didn’t do anything about it.
  • Although most internet users are aware of at least one of the ways in which their personal data might be collected online, less than four in ten are aware of all the ways we asked about.
  • There has been little change in critical awareness in the past few years, with many still lacking the critical skills needed to identify when they are being advertised to online.
  • One in ten internet users say they don’t think about the truthfulness of online content, although those who do are more likely than in 2017 to make checks to verify the information.
  • Thirteen percent of UK adults do not use the internet, unchanged since 2014; those aged 55 and over and in the DE socio-economic group remain less likely to be online.
  • One in seven adults of working age in DE households do not go online, and when they do, one in five only go online via a smartphone.

Extract from key findings of Adults’ Media Lives 2019 from Ofcom (with discussion guide used):

  • Online behaviour is increasingly segmented across the sample, with a clear difference between those who use the internet for what might be described as “basic” tasks, and those who are using it for a wider and more diverse range of activities. The latter group includes a growing subset of participants who now use social media platforms proactively as part of their work – either promoting their own businesses or the organisations they work for.
  • Changes in lifestage and domestic circumstances continue to impact greatly upon media usage and attitudes. Some younger participants described themselves as “growing up” and having less time to spend on (e.g.) social media. Some older participants are becoming more housebound, which means that they are more dependent on media technology both for entertainment (e.g. TV) and practical support (e.g. online shopping).
  • There were numerous examples of participants using information tools to become more savvy customers. These included conducting online research to find the best new deal for mobile, broadband and TV services, and using apps and/or email notifications to check their bills and keep tabs on their data usage.
  • More participants are now accessing a range of online learning opportunities. These included formal education, work-based learning and informal learning opportunities via YouTube videos, specialist educational sites, Facebook groups, etc. However, such use is concentrated among the internet savvy, and is not necessarily empowering those with less confidence or less appetite to learn to try something new.
  • Cameras are being used more for online communication and other applications. There has been a marked increase in claimed use of FaceTime and Skype, examples of participants enjoying the benefits of specialist apps which exploit their devices’ camera functionality, and increased interest in dashcams and bodycams.
  • There are growing concerns about media technology “spying” on users. Some of these related specifically to “always on” voice-controlled technology such as Amazon’s Alexa. However, several participants also spontaneously cited examples of being served ads related to the topics of their face-to-face conversations (not using technology at all).

See also

  • ‘Online Nation is a new annual report that looks at what people are doing online, how they are served by online content providers and platforms, and their attitudes to and experiences of using the internet.’: Summary // Full Report.
  • Internet users’ experience of harm online 2019, designed to quantify concerns about, reported experiences of and potential sources of online harm in three key categories:
    • Content that people view, read or listen to online and interactions with other users
    • Data/privacy
    • Hacking/security
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