Research report

News and Australian children: how young people access, perceive and are affected by the news

20 Nov 2017

In September 2017 we surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 young Australians aged 8-16 years to understand their news engagement practices and experiences. The analysis provided in this report considers the overall results and compares this with results filtered specifically to account for gender and age.

The analysis finds that young Australians consume a lot of news regularly and they get this news from many different sources. Engaging with news stories makes young people feel happy, motivated and knowledgeable. However, many young Australians do not trust news media organisations and perceive they are biased. Most believe news media organisations don’t understand young people’s lives and more than one third say the news does not cover the issues that matter to them. While social media is popular for getting news, only one third of young people are confident about spotting fake news online while more than half never or rarely try to work if news stories they encounter online are true or not.

By highlighting how young Australians aged 8-16 years access, classify, experience, consume and critique news media in this report, we hope to open up a conversation about news media literacy in Australia. We want the survey findings to support evidence-based discussions – with governments, schools, parents, news producers, online platforms and most of all, with young people themselves – about what needs to be done to ensure young Australians are able to access news, use news and participate in news in ways that meaningfully support their participation in society.

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