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This digital era has dramatically reshaped a lot of us. One of the biggest catalysts of this change is the social media platforms, which have taken different generations by storm. But aside from serving as a form of entertainment, they are now considered “news sources” by UK teenagers, according to a report from the Office of Communications (Ofcom) in the UK.
Ofcom’s report claims that “teenagers in the UK are turning away from traditional news channels and are instead looking to Instagram, TikTok and YouTube to keep up to date.” In its report, Instagram leads the race as 2022’s most popular news source among the said demographic with a percentage of 29%. It is followed by TikTok and YouTube at 28%. Surprisingly, BBC One and BBC Two, which are legit traditional news sources, rank fifth place with 24% of teen users in 2022. According to Ofcom, its teenage users declined after five years, wherein it used to own 45% of the UK teenager users online.
“Teenagers today are increasingly unlikely to pick up a newspaper or tune into TV News, instead preferring to keep up-to-date by scrolling through their social feeds,” said Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s Group Director for Strategy and Research. “And while youngsters find news on social media to be less reliable, they rate these services more highly for serving up a range of opinions on the day’s topical stories.”
Ofcom also shared that from 0.8 million UK TikTok adult users in 2020, the number swelled to 3.9 million, which makes up 7% of the age group. On a positive note, Ofcom stressed that 71% of the demographic considers TV the most trusted news source. YouTube and Twitter, on the other hand, are believed to offer trustworthy news stories by 51% and 52% of teens, respectively. Thirty percent of the teens in the report, meanwhile, trust TikTok in its news content.
The entirety of the report is not a surprise anymore since Microsoft itself also stated in one of its reports that some small business owners who participated in their study believe that TikTok is now their go-to educational platform. “Historically, graduating from college was seen as a rite of passage, an achievement previous generations expected and longed for,” Microsoft said. “Gen Z, however, believes other paths are possible to achieve their goals. Seventy-eight percent of Gen Z small business owners say obtaining a college education is not very necessary for running their own business.”
It shouldn’t be something to surprise us now since more and more of us, regardless of generation, consider the internet as part of our daily lives. Even businesses and companies are embracing this digital revolution now: newspaper companies focusing more on online subscriptions, book authors shifting to offering digital literary copies of their works, obsolete DVD stores being replaced by livestream subscription services, stores establishing their online presence, and more. However, considering social media platforms as a news resource despite their reputation as one of the breeding grounds of misinformation is something to ponder.