Teens in the UK get their news from social media rather than traditional news channels to keep up to date, new research from Ofcom shows.
For the first time, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are now the most popular news sources among 12- to 15-year-olds.
The insights are included in the regulator’s News Consumption in the UK 2021/22 report.
Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s group director for strategy and research, said: “It is becoming less and less for teenagers to pick up a newspaper or tune in to TV News, instead preferring to stay informed. by scrolling through their social feeds.
“And while young people find news on social media less reliable, they rate these services more highly because they offer a range of opinions about the current stories of the day.”
According to the figures, Instagram was the most popular with young people, being used by 29% of teens, ahead of TikTok and YouTube, both of which were used by 28%.
ITV news, including regional ITV news bulletins, came in fourth, while the BBC’s two main channels, one and two – historically the most popular news source among this age group – have bumped into fifth, Ofcom said.
The number of teens using these channels for news has fallen from nearly half (45%) five years ago to about a quarter (24%).
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However, trust in social media news sources varies – half of YouTube and Twitter users believe they deliver reliable news stories.
Despite its popularity, less than a third of teens (30%) trust TikTok’s news content.
News viewing on BBC One, BBC Two, the BBC News channel, ITV and Sky News is now below pre-pandemic levels, which Ofcom says is part of a longer-term decline in traditional TV news viewing.
However, TV news remains the most trusted source of news among adults in the UK, with social media considered the least reliable.