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Brief Published: 21 Feb 2020

New Survey Reveals Top Media Trends for UK Kids


In their annual survey of children’s media use – and parents’ attitudes towards it – UK communications regulator Ofcom reveals how the way kids are consuming and producing digital content is changing. We highlight the key takeaways for brands.

  • The Greta Effect: Ofcom attributes the work of teenage climate campaigner Greta Thunberg to the rise in online activism seen in British children. The proportion of 12- to 15-year-olds who used social media to support causes – via sharing links and posting comments – rose from 12% in 2018 to 18% in 2019. One in 10 of this same age group have signed an online petition in this time, indicating their entry into social activism via the internet. Engaging with issues that concern younger demographics is a sure-fire way to earn their respect. To learn more about kid-championed movements, see 10 Teen Causes to Watch. 
  • Coming-of-Age Online: British children have a distinct transition period when they enter into mobile-device and social-media-account ownership. Between the ages of nine and 10, the rate of mobile phone ownership more than doubles, rising from 23% to 50%. This represents a key independence milestone in a child’s life as they prepare for secondary school. For more on the digital lives of Gen Z (born between 1995 and 2009), see our Dynamic Youth report.
  • Parental Perspective: Belief in the internet’s benefit for children has declined among adults. In 2015, 65% of UK parents thought the positives of online exposure outweighed the negatives – dropping to 55% in 2019. Brands should address this issue by developing and emphasising safety protocols for their online offerings. Gaming platforms should also reconsider putting pressure on children to make in-app purchases, as the number of parents expressing concern about in-game expenditure grew from 40% to 47% between 2018 and 2019.

For a wider look at the digital services winning over youthful consumers, see Teen Media Trends: 2019 Update.

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