[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

[REPORT] OfCom: Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report

Ofcom publishes regular research into people’s attitudes to various forms of media, including digital, and the latest has just been published. Here’s the brief overview at the beginning:

Internet use is becoming more mobile, with more people going online via their smartphones and accessing the internet in locations other than work and home. This connectivity is affecting our lives in many ways, with increasing take-up of communication services like WhatsApp, more use of streaming and on-demand services, more access to creative opportunities, and YouTube and social media increasingly being used as sources of news and information.

So it is perhaps not surprising that the majority continue to say that for them the benefits of the internet outweigh the risks. However, this connectivity can be overwhelming, with a third saying they would like to cut down on the time they spend online. It can also bring downsides, most notably nearly half of internet users say they have seen hateful content online in the past year.

Given these downsides, critical thinking skills are of particular interest. People need the skills to question and make judgements about their online environment. These skills are important as they enable them to keep themselves and others safe, to understand when they are being advertised to and how their data is being used, and to know when something could be biased or misleading. Our research shows that many people struggle with at least some of these elements.

It is also important to remember that although the internet seems ubiquitous, the online experience is not the same for everyone. Our research reveals significant differences, by age and by socioeconomic group, in the numbers who are online at all, and in the extent to which those who are online have the critical skills to understand and safely navigate their online world.

You can download the full file from Ofcom.


[REPORT] Adults Media Use and Attitudes with @Ofcom

A report published by Ofcom as part of their media literacy duties. It provides research that looks at media use, attitudes and understanding, and how these change over time, with a particular focus on those groups that tend not to participate digitally. The report covers TV, radio, mobile, games, and the internet, with a particular focus on the latter.

The report focuses on the current wave of research which was conducted in autumn 2015 and any key changes compared to 2014.

Findings include:

  • a considerable rise (10 percentage points over a year to 16%) in the proportion of adults who only use smartphones or tablets to go online, rather than a PC or laptop. This indicates that these devices are not just supplementing PCs and laptops, but are starting to replace them;
  • a sizeable increase (11 percentage points over a year to 42%) in the proportion of internet users who say they only use websites or apps that they’ve used before. This trend, which is particularly prominent in over 25s, points to a narrowing use of the internet, with people focusing on content and apps that they use regularly;
  • seven in ten adults now use a smartphone, the device most used for accessing social media and the preferred device for the majority of online activities. Mobile phones have become the media device people would miss most, overtaking the television set; and
  • half of adults (51%) that use search engines are not aware that the top items on many results pages are adverts or sponsored links, indicating there is a need for people to be more aware or savvy about the content they are accessing online.
  • there’s a largely steady growth in the number of people with social media profiles:


The report can be found online