Facts and figures on Norwegian children’s digital media use
Increasing more and increasingly younger children have access to their own mobile phone, and among ten-year-olds almost everyone – nine out of ten – owns a smartphone. Around half of young people between nine and 18 years of age use their mobile phone for two hours or more daily – too much, according many of them, and too little time spent meeting friends outside the digital platforms.
These are some of the results in Norway’s largest survey on young people’s media access and use, Barn og medier-undersøkelsen 2018, recently published by the Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet).
The survey covers several topics on media use among children and youth, such as gaming, social media, TV and streaming services, etc. Other aspects are also dealt with: interest in news, critical media use and relation to age limits, to name a few. Questions about negative experiences, such as cyberbullying and unwanted sexual contact or content, are also included.
The survey also shows children more often disagreeing with their parents on the time spent using different media (e.g. Internet, mobile phone, movies, TV, social media, and gaming) than on what they do with the media. Parents are also showing more interest in other leisure-time activities, according to children in the survey.
When asked about parents’ media use, 25 per cent feel their parents use their phone too much (in second place after dedicating too much time to their work, at 29 per cent) while 18 per cent feel their parents spend too much time on social media.
Youth between 13 and 18 years of age report having high trust in their own capacity to distinguish false information (74 per cent say they are able or very able to do this) or if someone is trying to deceive them (85 per cent). Boys report a higher trust in their own capacity than girls do, with 62 per cent of boys saying they are very good at detecting deceit compared to 47 per cent of girls. Forty-three per cent of the boys consider themselves very good at determining whether information is true or false, while 29 per cent of the girls make the same judgment of their own skills in this area.
As an example of measures young people take to check the accuracy of a news piece or other piece of information, nearly four out of ten report searching on the web, and three out of ten mention checking with established news media (e.g. NRK, VG, Dagbladet, Aftenposten). Three out of ten ask an adult, and about two out of ten ask a friend. Thirty-five per cent do nothing to check for accuracy when they suspect false information, or so-called ‘fake news’.
Differences between boys and girls can be seen regarding this topic as well. Among boys, 44 per cent report not taking any measures to check for truthfulness, whereas 28 per cent of girls state the same. However, both boys and girls become more active in this matter with increasing age.
The Norwegian Media Authority has conducted similar surveys on young people’s media access and use on a regular basis since 2003, by collecting answers from both young people themselves and parents. The survey provides valuable knowledge regarding young people’s media habits to be used as a basis for guidelines, educational material and other efforts addressing children, parents and other adults. The results from the survey, which was conducted by Sentio Research Norway at the request of the authority, were published in mid-September 2018 and are based on 5,000 interviews with children and youth aged 9-18 years. In parallel, a survey among 2,000 parents of children aged 1-18 years regarding their children’s media habits was also conducted.