Children using the Web…

The NFER has a long term project (started in 2002) tracking students’ experience of citizenship education. The most recent report is referenced as follows….

CLEAVER, E., IRELAND, E., KERR, D. and LOPES, J. (2005). Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study: Second Cross-Sectional Survey 2004 Listening to Young People: Citizenship Education in England (DfES Research Report 626). London: DfES

  • The full report is downloadable as a 900Kb PDF file from the NFER Web site.
  • The BBC News Web site (and the Metro newspaper) decided to focus on some findings about youngsters use of the Web (see full report section 5.4.2, page 49 corresponding to page 62 in the PDF file)
  • The report gives the following statistics
  • homework 77%
  • instant messaging 52%
  • looking for goods or services to buy 36%
  • using chatrooms 29%
  • look up news/current affairs 18%
  • adult – only websites 12%
  • discussion forums 9%

Predictably, the BBC and Metro picked up on the ‘adult only web sites’ item with headlines like Students ‘using adult websites’ .

The study is based on a large sample of students (6400) in a variety of schools and some Colleges. Students show a healthy circumspection over what they read in the newspapers, although reliance on TV was worrying (5.4.3)

Television was seen as a more trustworthy form of communication than the radio, internet or newspapers, with newspapers being seen as the least trustworthy by all students: 48 per cent of students trusted the television completely or quite a lot compared to only 13 per cent who trusted newspapers completely or quite a lot. Students appeared to become more cynical with age, with older students showing least trust in any form of the media. There were particularly salient differences in age in relation to trust in television with on 39 per cent of Year 12 students trusting the television completely or a lot compared to 55 per cent of Year 8.

The report has a lot of facts, figures, and a detailed account of the longitudinal study design.

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