My thoughts on the BBC’s Media Literacy research report

Last week, I mentioned that the BBC had released some really interesting research into media literacy, and now I’ve had the time to fully digest the report, I thought I’d share with you what I found interesting.

The report makes fascinating reading, and luckily a lot of it reinforced what we already knew – which is always reassuring!

Amongst those who are offline, 51% are 65+, 71% are C2DE and 50% have no formal qualification, which pretty much echoes the type of learners who are using UK online centres.   

People’s motivations for getting online reflect what we hear – 31% of internet newcomers are drawn online by being able to communicate with family and friends, 21% because they could find information to help them with everyday life and 21% to help them research products and services.

And amongst all the different groups identified by the report, from the hi-tech influencers to the concerned resistors, all said the first thing they would do to learn more would be to ask someone else for help.

But one of the most interesting findings from the research is that 23% of non-users are classed as lapsed users, so they’d used the internet before but aren’t doing so now. On top of this, 4 in 10 non-users class themselves as proxy users, so they would ask someone else to use the internet on their behalf. Together these lapsed and proxy users make up a bigger proportion of the offline population than those who have never been online before, and so it seems only right that we focus more on these groups, and think more about how we can inspire and support them to do more online.

46% of people questioned by the report couldn’t live without the internet – that sounds like me! So for those that don’t use the internet, for whatever reason, it must really feel like the gap is widening, and the online world is further off than ever.

It’s great that the BBC has done this new research. Their report provides a really useful insight and we need to make sure future research builds on it; I hope the Social Digital Research Hub can help more people to hear about research that’s taken place.

As Secret Affair sang (in 1979!), this is the time for action. Time to work together to support everyone, whatever their level of skill, to take advantage of all the great things the internet makes possible. Time to be seen.

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