A recent press release from Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communication industries, presents findings from its latest research on media literacy.
Half of parents (48 per cent) with children aged 5-15 who use the internet at home think they know less about the internet than their children do. This rises to 70 per cent of parents of 12-15 year olds.
At the same time, there has been increased online activity among children in the past year, including higher usage of mobile and games consoles to go online. Around one fifth (18 per cent) of 5-15 year olds own a smartphone, and 16 per cent go online via a games console. However, among 12-15 year olds this rises to over one third (35 per cent) owning a smartphone and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) going online via a games console. Forty one per cent of this age group now access the internet in their bedroom, up from 31 per cent in 2009.
Parents appear to be less concerned about how their children use the internet. They are less likely to say they have internet parental controls set – 37 per cent in 2010 compared to 43 per cent in 2009. Those that don’t have parental controls mainly say it’s either because they trust their child or because they are supervising them.
The findings form part of Ofcom’s media literacy reports, which focus on the safe and informed use and understanding of digital content among UK adults and children.
For further information see the full press release. The full findings are available in two research reports: ‘UK children’s media literacy’ and ‘UK adults’ media literacy’, available to download from the Ofcom website. Ofcom has also published a consumer guide, ‘Managing your media in a digital world’, to help parents understand some of the issues raised by the research.