Many of us have undergone profound change as a result of the digital age. The social media platforms, which have captivated users of all ages, are one of the major drivers of this transition. However, a research from the Office of Communications (Ofcom) in the UK claims that they are now regarded by teens in the UK as “news sources” in addition to being a source of entertainment.
According to a survey by Ofcom, “teenagers in the UK are avoiding traditional news channels and are instead flocking to Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube to stay up to speed.” According to the analysis, Instagram has a 29 percent share of the market as the top news source for the aforementioned generation in 2022. At 28% each, TikTok and YouTube come in second and third. Unexpectedly, BBC One and BBC Two, respectable conventional news sources, are ranked sixth in 2022 with 24% of young users. After five years, when it had 45 percent of the UK’s adolescent online users, Ofcom reports a fall in its teen user base.
Teenagers today are less inclined to read a newspaper or watch TV news; instead, they prefer to stay current by scrolling through their social media feeds, according to Yih-Choung Teh, group director for strategy and research at Ofcom. And while young people believe social media news to be less trustworthy, they value these services more for providing a variety of viewpoints on the day’s hot topics.
Ofcom also revealed that from 0.8 million UK TikTok adult users in 2020 to 3.9 million—or 7% of the age group—the number increased. Positively, Ofcom emphasized that 71 percent of the target audience views TV as the most reliable news source. On the other hand, only 51% and 52% of teenagers, respectively, think that YouTube and Twitter provide reliable news articles. Meanwhile, 30% of the youth in the study have confidence in TikTok’s news-related content.
The entire survey is no longer surprising because Microsoft itself acknowledged in one of its reports that some small company owners who took part in the study think TikTok has replaced other educational platforms as their preferred option. According to Microsoft, earning a college degree “was traditionally considered as a rite of passage, an achievement past generations expected and hoped for.” “Gen Z, however, thinks there are other ways to attain their objectives. Getting a college education, according to 78% of Gen Z small business entrepreneurs, is not absolutely necessary for running a company.
Since more and more people, regardless of generation, perceive the internet to be a part of daily life, it shouldn’t surprise us anymore. The digital revolution is now being embraced by businesses and organizations as well. Newspaper companies are putting more of an emphasis on online subscriptions, authors of books are switching to offering digital versions of their works, dated DVD stores are being replaced by livestream subscription services, stores are establishing an online presence, and more. However, despite their reputation as a source of false information, social media sites should be taken into account as a news source.