Adults Media Use and Attitudes Report
This report is designed to give an accessible overview of media literacy among UK adults aged 16 and over. The purpose of this report is to support people working in this area to develop and promote media literacy among these groups.
Media literacy enables people to have the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to make full use of the opportunities presented both by traditional and by new communications services. Media literacy also helps people to manage content and communications, and protect themselves from the potential risks associated with using these services.
Ofcom has a statutory duty to promote media literacy (-1-). The core focus of our research work is to understand UK adults usage habits and attitudes across TV, radio, internet, mobile phones and games.
This report is the fifth full report since our survey began in 2005. As we have tracked some of the core measures over time since 2005, we can assess the relative strengths of media literacy in the UK today. We focus in this Executive Summary mainly upon online behaviours and attitudes, but include contextual evidence of other platforms where relevant. Blank cells indicate where data are not available.
1 Consumption dashboard
|% of UK population||2005||2007||2009||2010||2011|
|Use of internet anywhere, on any device||59||63||73||74||79|
|Use of smartphone (-2-)||-||-||-||30||44|
|Internet consumption (% of internet users)|
|Weekly volume of internet use anywhere (hours)||9.9||12.1||12.2||14.2||15.1|
|% of broad users (11-18 types of online use)||-||-||38||49||50|
|Ever use internet for finding information about public services provided by local/national government||49||63||66||72||68|
|Ever use internet to find out information about leisure time activities||61||71||81||84||79|
|Use of internet anywhere, on any device||59||63||73||74||79|
|Ever use internet to watch or download TV programmes or films||-||-||33||45||48|
|Ever use internet to bank and pay bills online||49||51||54||63||61|
|Ever use internet to look at news websites||51||60||66||70||67|
|Weekly use - banking and paying bills||31||26||26||33||36|
|Weekly use - looking at news||25||24||22||31||31|
|Visit new websites per week||-||64||68||72||75|
|Set up SNS profile online||-||22||44||54||59|
|Daily use of SNS sites (of those with SNS profile)||-||30||41||51||67|
|Contributed comments to a blog||-||19||27||29||28|
|Mobile online use (% of mobile phone users)|
|Weekly use of mobile - websites||-||-||11||19||31|
|Weekly use of mobile - social networking||-||-||8||15||29|
|Weekly use of mobile - emails||-||-||-||16||25|
There has been a substantial increase in the proportion of the UK population now using the internet - from 59% in 2005 to 79% in 2011. And internet users are spending more time online - self-reported weekly hours have risen from 9.9 hours in 2005 to 15.1 in 2011. That said, considerable differences by socio-economic group (SEG) and by age remain - for example, in 2011 41% of those aged 65+ have the internet at home, and 60% of those in DE households, compared to 79% overall.
Use of mobiles to go online is increasing substantially, with weekly use tripling since 2009 to 31% of those with a mobile phone in 2011.
Over time, people are doing more things online, with increases across most types of activity. Half of online users are now carrying out 11-18 types of activity. However, in some areas growth is not substantial, especially at a weekly level of activity - for example, since 2005 banking/paying bills has increased by five percentage points, and looking at news by six.
When we ask internet users about their level of exploration online, three-quarters say they visit at least one or two new websites in a typical week. This has increased from around two-thirds in 2007, although this still leaves one quarter of internet users using only tried and tested websites in a typical week, with older users and those in DE groups being more likely to do this.
Social networking is one area where there has been considerable growth, from 22% of internet users in 2007 to 59% in 2011. Growth rates were most significant between 2007 and 2009 for younger age-groups, with rates for older age-groups growing faster since that time. Frequency of access has increased considerably over time, with 67% of social networkers accessing sites once a day or more, compared to 30% in 2007. And 35% say they visit them more than once a day. Accessing social networking via a mobile phone has doubled in the past year - from 15% of mobile phone users in 2010 to 29%.
2 Attitudes and understanding dashboard
|% of users (variable bases)||2005||2007||2009||2010||2011|
|Would miss TV the most||44||52||50||44||46|
|Would miss internet the most||8||12||15||17||17|
|Would miss mobile the most||10||13||11||13||18|
|Would miss radio the most||12||8||9||10||8|
|Would miss listening to music on a hi-fi/ CD or tape player the most||13||5||2||3||2|
|Concerns about TV overall||46||55||39||40||39|
|Concerns about mobile||42||34||26||24||20|
|Concerns about the internet overall||70||73||61||54||50|
|Concerns over offensive/illegal content online||-||-||45||40||33|
|Concerns over security/fraud online||-||-||23||21||21|
|Confidence overall as internet user||-||-||*||*||84|
|Confidence to do creative things online||-||66||64||67||69|
|Belief that online content is regulated||30||26||37||41||40|
|Knowledge of how BBC TV is funded||84||80||80||78||78|
|Knowledge of how BBC online is funded||46||41||44||50||47|
|Understanding that search engine results not necessarily all accurate||-||-||54||50||57|
* Question asked in different context so trends over time not stable
Television continues to be the medium that would be missed the most (46% of UK adults). That said, affinity with mobiles has grown over time, with nearly one in five adults (18%) saying they would miss their mobile phone the most, an increase from 10% in 2005. There are considerable differences by age and socio-economic group - for example, 16-24s are twice as likely to miss their mobile phone (40%), an increase of 12 percentage points versus 2010 for this age group, meaning mobile phones are now their most-missed medium. 17% of UK adults would most-miss the internet, up from 8% in 2005.
Among internet users, there have been significant decreases in levels of concern since 2005, and some decrease for TV viewers. Concerns about mobile are at relatively low levels. Concerns about offensive/illegal content online have reduced since 2009.
While around two-thirds of internet users say they feel confident about carrying out creative' activities - active content generation - there has been little change since 2007. There are high levels of overall confidence as an internet user, at over eight in ten.
There has been a steady increase in the belief that content on internet and on radio is regulated (and since 2007 a steady increase in belief that audiovisual content online, and YouTube content, is regulated).
There has been little change since 2005 in understanding how BBC content on TV, radio and the internet is funded. In general, the younger age-groups are less likely than older age groups to know about licence fee funding.
Broadly, around half of all internet users who use search engines understand the function of search engines; this has changed little since 2009, although in comparison to 2010 there has been an increase, from 50% to 57%.
3 Online privacy and safety skills and strategies dashboard
|% of users (variable bases)||2005||2007||2009||2010||2011|
|Have some concerns about entering credit card details online (but would do so)||48||49||49||46||47|
|Would make a judgement based on "formal" signs before entering personal details||43||48||51||55||56|
|Only friends can see personal contact information on their social networking profile||-||-||-||-||61|
|Would not want anyone to see personal information about feelings re work or college||-||-||-||-||48|
|Read online terms and conditions thoroughly||-||-||-||-||24|
|Use anti-virus software- on PC/laptop||-||-||-||-||87|
|Can delete cookies from PC/ laptop/ netbook/ tablet web browser||-||-||-||-||53|
The research results indicate a mixed message about whether or not people who are online are managing their online security and privacy adequately. While levels of comfort/confidence about being online are high, and levels of concern relatively low, people's skills and strategies in this area are variable.
There has been little change since 2005 in the extent to which people are happy about giving out various types of personal information online, with about half saying they would give out credit card details, albeit with some reservations. There has been a steady increase in the proportion of people saying they would decide whether or not to enter such details based on "formal" signs such as padlock signs and system messages, with just over half of respondents saying they use such types of formal judgement. This varies considerably by socio-economic group.
Younger people are less likely to be concerned about their privacy, and less likely to take protective steps than older adults. For example, while 48% of respondents say that they would not want anyone to see information about how they are feeling about work/college, this decreases to 21% of 16-24s, with 13% saying they would be happy for anyone to see this information, compared to 6% across all internet users.
While six in ten (61%) of social networkers say only their friends can see their personal contact details, some 16% say this is available either to friends of friends, or anyone. And 26% say that personal information details such as date of birth and home town are available in this way.
While there is high awareness of website terms and conditions/ privacy statements, only one in four (24%) internet users say they read these thoroughly, with the same proportion (24%) saying they never read them.
Use of various types of security and safety features shows that 87% of home internet users have anti-virus software installed on the PC/ laptop/ netbook/ tablet they use at home, and just over half say they can delete cookies from their PC/ laptop/ netbook/ tablet web browser (53%).
This overview of how media literacy has developed in the UK since 2005 shows that:
- There has been substantial growth in the use of the internet, with four in five people (79%) now using the internet anywhere, on any device, up from 59% in 2005. Use of a smartphone now stands at 44%, up from 30% in 2010. Types of online usage have expanded over time, although rates of change differ between activities.
- Concerns about media have reduced over time, and confidence online remains high, while belief that online content is regulated has increased.
- Understanding about media funding is highest for TV and radio, the "incumbent" media technologies, and lower for online.
- In general, safety and privacy skills are varied. There has been positive change over time in the use of "formal" methods of judgement about website security, but little change in the degree of comfort in giving out some types of personal information. There is room for improvement in many of the skills in this area.
- There continue to be significant differences by age and socio-economic group across a variety of measures. And those that aren't online are more likely to be older and from DE socio-economic groups - some 51% of those aged 65+ say they don't intend to get the internet at home, and 29% of those in DE socio-economic groups, compared to 15% of the UK population as a whole.
1.-The promotion of media literacy is a responsibility placed on Ofcom by Section 11 of the Communications Act 2003. Under Section 14 (6a) of the Act we have a duty to make arrangements for the carrying out of research into the matters mentioned in Section 11 (1).
2.-The take-up figures collected for this report give useful contextual information to understand better the behavioural and opinion-based findings about media literacy. Official all-UK Ofcom take-up figures based on a larger survey can be found in the annual CMR (Communications Market Report) published in August each year http://www.ofcom.org.uk/cmr11/.
The full print version is available below.