Last Updated on 30th April 2021

This week, communications regulator Ofcom released their annual Children and Parents: Media use and Attitude’s report. The report includes key statistics on how children and young people use media and digital devices and how their parents and carers moderate their usage

This report is useful because it provides us not just a snapshot of how media use habits are changing among children and young people, but also how the risks are evolving.

In a rapidly changing world, we know that standing still can mean falling behind. So here are 5 key things we have learned from the report, alongside our most popular resources to help you protect the children in your care.

1. Children are now twice as likely to watch video-on-demand services such as YouTube (96%) rather than live TV (56%).

This tells us is that young people are engaging more with digital services to access video-based content. Young people can receive friend requests and abusive comments on video streaming platforms, which does not happen with traditional TV sets.

  • You can use our YouTube Safety Card to help configure safety settings on YouTube to protect the children and young people in your care.

2. Just over half of 8–15-year-olds have had a negative experience online – most commonly being contacted by someone they do not know.

Ofcom found that most children who had received online safety advice would tell someone if they saw something worrying online. Instilling the importance of help-seeking behaviours for children online is vital for educating a generation of digitally resilient children and young people.

  • You can use our series of Trusted Adult Video Resources to support you to talk to the children in your care about accessing help when they need it most.

3. 70% of children with a limiting condition reported negative experiences online compare to around 50% of those without a condition. 46% of children with a condition were more likely to say they had experienced bullying behaviours compared with 26% of those without a condition.

These statistics are not surprising. We know that bullying, both on and offline, can negatively impact any child but can disproportionately effect those who may have additional vulnerabilities. They confirm again that children’s vulnerabilities can place them at increased risk of online harm.

To help you to support the children in your care, check out our recent articles on cyberbullying.

4. Almost 50% of children and young people aged 5-15 years old used TikTok last year.

TikTok continues to grow and expand, becoming a fixture for many young people online. Its short-form, vertical video swipe format is likely attributed to the attraction toward the platform.

5. Over 52% of parents were worried about their children seeing self-harm content.

Worries about harmful content, including self-harm and suicide-related content are nothing new. However, given our current circumstances and the ongoing pandemic, it has never been more important to understand the issue.

  • Our recent article Self- Harm and Peer Support, covers what you need to know about how young people can use the internet to cope with difficult feelings. You can use this article to understand the issue better and make sure the children in your care have access to the most appropriate support.

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