Social Media Overtakes Television As Youths’ Favourite Source Of News

Istanbul, Turkey - December 15, 2018: Social media apps on Apple iPhone X

According to the UK’s regulatory body Ofcom, social media could overtake the BBC for news consumption among young people.

Six out of ten 12 to 15 year olds recorded themselves as interested in news, with 43 per cent of that group interested in ‘serious things happenning in the UK’. Other areas of priority were music (53 per cent), celebrities (45 per cent) and the environment (44 per cent).

While talking to family and watching TV (68 and 65 per cent respectively) were the most popular ways to find out about news among the demographic, social media followed closely at 57 per cent. Moreover, according to Ofcom, there has been a “significant reduction” in the use of BBC One, BBC Two and ITV since 2020, while Sky News, TikTok and WhatsApp have all seen their use increase.

BBC One and Two and YouTube were the most used sources of news among this demographic, at 35 and 33 per cent respectively. However, the use of the BBC among 12 to 15 year old has seen a steady decreased over the past three years. In 2018, it was at 45 per cent and in 2020 was 41 per cent, while social media has risen.

Among adults, TV was the most used platform for news at 79 per cent, closely followed by the internet at 73 per cent, with BBC One as the most used news source across all platforms, at 62 per cent. One third of those who used social media for news said they ‘mostly’ got news from social media posts, which was a decrease from 2020.

According to the children’s news consumption survey, between November/December of 2020 to April of 2021, use of BBC TV for COVID news increased from 27 per cent to 35 per cent. However, social media sources increased at an even higher rate, from 39 per cent to 53 per cent.

12-15 year olds who primarily relied on people they knew – both in person and on social media – for COVID news were more likely to agree that they found it difficult to know what was true or false about COVID, at 76 per cent. In comparison, 62 per cent of those who primarily relied on the media and official sources agreed that it was hard to know what was true or false.


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