Exploring high media literacy among adults and children
Ofcom has a statutory duty to promote and research media literacy. A key way we seek to fulfil this duty is through our Making Sense of Media programme, which aims to help improve the online skills, knowledge and understanding of children and adults in the UK.
This report is a research project exploring how highly media literate adults and children navigate their online worlds.
The research in this project uses digital ethnography and in-depth interviews to provide ‘in-the moment’ insights alongside more considered and reflective participant responses, building a real-world understanding of what high media literacy looks like in practice. It examines the main drivers of high media literacy and how online gaming, search and social media platforms can support, and at times, hinder this, according to participants. While the benefits of being highly media literate are discussed throughout, the report also examines the inconsistencies and gaps between awareness and behaviour in a real-world context for participants.
The report highlights the situations and activities across gaming, social media and search platforms that even those who are identified as being highly media literate can find challenging and reminds us that ‘perfection’ in media literacy is not a realistic objective.
The research study comprised digital ethnography and in-depth interviews with 40 participants identified as being highly media literate. Participants ranged in age from 13 to 70 years, were spread across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and included those from minority ethnic backgrounds.