Ofcom report: More than two-thirds support social media regulation

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

The UK's telecoms regulator, in its inaugural Online Nation Report, has found that most adults are concerned about the risks posed by the internet, and the majority endorse social media regulation.

The research was conducted in association with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), and was released today. It "is a new annual report that looks at what people are doing online, how they are served by online content providers and platforms, and their attitudes to and experiences of using the internet."

The Online Nation Report includes data about internet usage as well as people's issues and concerns - namely, that 87% have access to the internet, and those who do spend 3 hours, 15 minutes each day online. Most (59%) agree that the benefits of being on the internet outweigh the risks.

About one in every five minutes spent online is used on social media.

Concerns about online harm

2,057 adults and 1,001 children were surveyed for the report - and 53% agreed strongly that they had concerns about the internet. An enormous 83% of adults were concerned about online harm to children.

They may have grounds for their worry - with 79% of children (12-15 years old) responding that they had had at least one "potentially harmful" online experience in the past year - though that definition was left broad and undefined.

To add to this, nearly a quarter of the children surveyed had experienced bullying, abuse or threats, while 15% had been exposed to disturbing or violent content.

It has led many to say more regulation is needed, according to the report. 70% of adults support greater regulation of social media websites; 64% would regulate video sharing platforms; and 61% instant messengers.

Data collection and protection

Awareness about how much personal data is in fact collected is mixed. 71% are aware of cookies collecting data, but only 49% are aware of their data being collected via apps.

However, respondents admit to not adhering to best practice online - most people (69%) agree with terms and conditions without reading them. Despite this, 74% are confident about managing their data online.

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