Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, has published its fourth research report into the extent of adult media literacy, comparing media literacy
within UK nations and regions.
The definition of media literacy is stated as being “the ability to access, understand and create communications in a variety of contexts”.
A total of 3,244 respondents were interviewed for the research across the UK. The audit focuses on the four main digital platforms under Ofcom’s remit: television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services, with analogue TV and radio included where relevant.
Ofcom found that:
- Across the UK, the average number of hours per week that internet users are online is 9.9 hours. People in London use the internet most (13.5 hours). Mobile phone owners in Northern Ireland send more texts than the average for the UK (38 and 28 respectively), and those in London make more mobile phone calls (28 compared to 20)
- Take-up of platforms and devices is highest in London and the South East. Interest in digital features of the four platforms is higher in London, the South East and the West Midlands. That said, people in the South East are less confident about being able to carry out various tasks on digital TV and the internet than the UK average
- People in London and the South East watch less television than elsewhere. Knowledge of funding and regulation of TV is lower is the South West, and higher in the West Midlands. Those in the East Midlands make most use of interactive TV services
- General levels of concern about all four platforms are lower in Scotland than for the UK as a whole. Concerns about mobile phones are highest in England. Respondents in Northern Ireland are also less likely to say they are concerned about the internet. Respondents in London are more likely to be concerned about radio and the internet
- People in Scotland and Northern Ireland are less likely to say they have learned about various types of media (16 per cent compared to 22 per cent for the UK as a whole). Appetite for learning more is lowest in Wales and Scotland, and highest in London and the West Midlands
- Respondents in Scotland watch more television than the other nations of the UK (24.3 hours), and those in Northern Ireland the least (19.3 hours). Self-reported hours of radio listening are fairly constant across the UK with the exception of Northern Ireland where workplace/education listening is minimal compared to other nations
- Users in Scotland report higher levels of confidence about using digital TV than those in the UK as a whole. Those in Wales are more confident about using the internet, and those in Northern Ireland are more confident using mobile phones
- Knowledge about the various types of content control varies across nations. Awareness of the television watershed is lower in Northern Ireland. Confidence in blocking computer viruses or email spam is greater in Scotland. Awareness of age verification systems on mobile phones is higher in Northern Ireland
- People in England have the highest levels of knowledge of industry funding and regulation, and those in Wales and Northern Ireland among the lowest. People in South West England are also less likely to know about the various types of regulation and funding
- People in Scotland and Northern Ireland are more likely to use newspapers to keep up with the news compared to the UK as a whole. Radio is more likely to be used by those in Northern Ireland, and less likely by those in Wales. Radio is also more commonly used in London
- People in Northern Ireland are less likely to trust television news than the UK average, and are more likely to trust newspapers than the UK average. People in the South West are more likely to distrust TV news. Local and regional commercial radio stations are more likely to be trusted by people in Northern Ireland than elsewhere. People in Scotland and Northern Ireland are less likely to trust the BBC website than UK adults as a whole. Levels of trust for weekly local or regional papers are far higher in Northern Ireland than elsewhere. Those in Scotland and Northern Ireland are less likely to trust ‘broadsheets’
The report is the fourth in a serious of five supplements to Ofcom’s Report on Adult Media Literacy.Acess Ofcom Research on media literacy.
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