Teenagers Are Increasingly Aware of Fake News on Social Media Says Ofcom

By Tom Pritchard on at

With fake news on the rise, and the spread of misinformation made easy through social media. Some people have expressed concern for the children who may not know any better, but according to Ofcom they're not as gullible as some people like to think. According to the regulator nine out of 10 teenagers check whether the news they see on social media is true or not.

Apparently a good 54 per cent of 12-15 year olds get their news from social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, making it the second most popular news source after television. Obviously after last year's US election, many people have expressed concern that news spread through social media doesn't always come from reputable sources. Thankfully most kids aren't stupid.

Only 34 per cent of  kids who got their news from social media claimed that the reporting was always, or mostly, truthful. That's compared to 59 per cent who said the same thing about radio and TV. 73 per cent of the kids were very aware that fake news is a thing, with 39 per cent claiming to have seen examples of it.

86 per cent of kids claim they would check up on a story they found on social media, doing things like assessing the reputability of the site in question (26 per cent), checking comments to see if other had flagged the story as untrue (39 per cent), assessing the quality of that specific article (20 per cent), or checking to see if the story was published elsewhere (48 per cent). 63 per cent also said they were willing to do something about it, with 39 per cent telling family members, 18 per cent leaving comments declaring it as fake news, and 14 per cent actually reporting it to the social media site they found it on.

With Ofcom claiming that 92 per cent of 5-15 year olds are online, it's nice to see that most of them are able to think critically about what they see. At the very least they're thinking about whether it's true or not, even if they are willing to take the content at face value. It's something that more adults could do with learning.


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