Educational research summarised: Ofcom – Children and Parents: Media use and attitudes report

Students and online media

Ofcom produce an annual report on the use and attitude towards media. The full report: Children and Parents: Media use and attitudes report 2015 is available through this link, some of their findings are listed below.

While this isn’t strictly educational research, the key objectives of the report are as follows:

  • To provide data about children’s habits and opinions as well as parents’ strategies regarding online, to inform the work of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety
  • To help stakeholders in resourcing for the promotion of media literacy through identification of emerging issues and gaps in skills
  • To provide a broad picture of media literacy across different platforms

These seem beneficial for all those who work with children and young people.

  • ‘’Critical understanding’ is a way of describing the skills and knowledge children need to understand, question and manage their media environment’ (p.8)
  • Since the first survey of young people and media in 2005, the time 12-15 year olds spend online per week has doubled – up to 18.9 hours per week (p.22)
  • ‘Tablets and mobile phones are now more popular than desktop computers for online access’ [for children at home] (p.23)

  • One in seven 3-4 year olds own their own tablet (p.31)
  • For children up to 12, tablets are the ‘most often-used device for going online’ (p.31)
  • Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube have significantly increased since 2014 as sites or apps used by 12-15 year olds in which they have a social media profile (p.80)


  • The majority of internet users aged 8-11 say they use websites or apps they have used before. This trend has increased since 2014 (p.84)
  • ‘Girls are more likely than boys aged 12-15 to have dislikes about social media’ (p.109)
  • More than six in ten parents of 12-15 year olds say that they learn new things that their child has learnt online (p.135)
  • Half of parents who said they had never talked to their child (aged 5-15) about online risks thought that their child was too young (p.184) but over 95% of children aged 8-15 said they had been given advice or information about the risks of being online (p.122)
  • ‘Parents of girls aged 8-11 are more likely than parents of boys to have rules in place about online behaviour.’ (p.189) while parents of 3-4 year old boys are more likely than parents of girls to have talked about online risks (p.180)


Please use the comments box below to record any thoughts; we’d love to hear from you!