Britons grow cautious about social networking data, more security conscious online

Twice as many UK adults have a social networking profile now compared to two years ago and those users are nearly twice as likely to keep their profiles private, according to research by media and telecoms regulator Ofcom.A study by Ofcom found that 44% of British adults had a social networking profile in 2009, compared to 22% in 2007. The study into media literacy found that 80% of those users now set their profile so that it is only visible to their friends and family. In 2007 that figure was just 48%. see:UK internet users becoming more security conscious [news release]
Most UK internet users are becoming more knowledgeable about security issues and less willing to provide personal information online than in 2007, according to Ofcom’s Media Literacy reports which reveal the UK’s media consumption habits and attitudes.Adults with a social networking profile are more likely to only allow friends or family to see it, currently at 80 per cent compared with 48 per cent in 2007. However, some internet users say they lack confidence in installing filtering software (25 per cent) and installing security features (23 per cent).Adults in Scotland are the least likely overall to worry about entering personal data online. Fifty per cent are happy to enter their home address details on the internet compared with 23 per cent in Wales and Northern Ireland. Forty four per cent of adult internet users in Scotland are also happy to enter their credit card details compared with only 19 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland.Trust in sources of mediaAround half of all adults consider television (52 per cent) and radio content (50 per cent) to be reliable and accurate compared to three in ten internet users judging internet content in this way (31 per cent).However more people say that they trust news websites (58 per cent of internet users) than news output from TV (54 per cent of TV viewers) with the largest percentage of people trusting the news on the radio (66 per cent of radio listeners).Just over half of internet users who use search engines (54 per cent) make some kind of evaluation of the results from these websites. However, one in five (20 per cent) of internet users trust that the website results from search engines will have accurate and unbiased information, rising to a quarter of those in C2DE socio-economic groups (25 per cent).UK onlineAround three quarters (73 per cent) of adults say they use the internet at home or elsewhere in 2009, compared to two thirds (63 per cent) in 2007. Adults in Scotland say they use the internet at home the most at 10.6 hours per week, with adults in England at 8.3 hours per week and those in Wales at 6.8 hours per week. Adults in Northern Ireland say they use the internet at home the least at 6.5 hours per week.Half of all internet users say that using the internet has increased their contact with friends (49 per cent) or family (47 per cent) who live further away, and around a quarter say their contact with friends who live nearby has increased (24 per cent).Popular surfing and socialising: According to Nielsen data, the most visited channels or brands in October 2009 were Google, MSN, Facebook, Yahoo, BBC, Ebay and Amazon, with little difference between the age groups visiting these sites.Almost half of adult internet users in Scotland say they have set up a social networking profile (49 per cent) compared with 46 per cent in Wales, 44 per cent in England and 31 per cent in Northern Ireland.Online activities – holidays, health, banking and shopping: Three in ten (30 per cent) of UK adults now prefer to check their bank balance online compared with 22 per cent in 2005. Over a third (36 per cent) of adults now prefer to book holidays online or by email which is now as popular as booking in person.Half of all internet users (47 per cent) said that they have used the internet to find out more about an illness compared with 41 per cent in 2005. Women (54 per cent), those in socio-economic group AB (53 per cent) and those aged 25-34 (54 per cent) were more likely to look for health information online.Half of UK adult internet users say they have made significant savings by comparing prices online or buying something online rather than in the shops (48 per cent). Overall, eight in ten UK adult internet users (81 per cent) have saved money by using the internet over the past 6 months.Control of children’s accessParents in Northern Ireland are stricter about TV viewing compared with parents in the other nations 87 per cent of parents in Northern Ireland have rules about their children’s TV viewing (compared with 76 per cent in Wales). Parents in Northern Ireland are also more likely to have PIN or password controls on TV services at 36 per cent compared with 24 per cent of parents in Wales.The UK Adults’ Media Literacy report can be found here: reports for Adults’ and Children’s Media Literacy in the Nations can be found here: and FOR EDITORS1. The Adults’ Media Literacy Audit involved 1824 in-home interviews with adults aged 16 and over. The Media Literacy in the Nations report involved interviews with 232 adults/284 children in Scotland, 223 adults/294 children in Wales, and 224 adults/205 children in Northern Ireland.2. Section 11 of the Communications Act 2003 requires Ofcom to promote media literacy in the UK. Ofcom does this partly by ensuring it is aware of consumer trends in the use of communication devices and understanding any potential media literacy-related issues arising from these.3. Ofcom supports Get Safe Online – a joint initiative between the Government, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and public and private sector sponsors. Get Safe Online raises awareness of internet security, and helps individuals and smaller businesses in the UK to use the internet confidently and safely:

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