Ofcom: Media Lives Study

The Ofcom Media Lives Study, looked in to two separate age groups and their interactions with a variety of different media. Looking at qualitative data collected over the course of three years, researchers aimed to figure out the habits and attitudes of the individuals and the ways that they use media in their everyday lives. Using a combination of filming and interviews, Ofcom wanted to look at how the media is used within the candidates’ daily life and how it is involved in circumstances outside of its normal need or function. The project could also open people’s eyes around how our use of media changes over time as the wider age range with in the study allowed researchers to broaden their spectrum of analysis and look at outlining factors such as age, race, religion etc.

Ofcom found that the biggest impact in a child’s understanding of Media came with the context that they were placed with in as media habits began to change due to extraneous variables brought about with in everyday life such as a change in environment, the introduction of a new step-parent or sibling and general life stages such as starting secondary school, all had somewhat of an impact on how a child uses media and what for. Watching TV for children has also become more of a family activity, as Ofcom monitored the use of a child’s TV time and found that they rarely choose to watch television alone. As when a child isn’t viewing television with their parent they are usually watching something with their sibling; contrasting to the use of tablets and other software devices. Children and teenagers also mainly use apps across a variety of formats mainly focusing on YouTube to source a variety of information when internet browsers weren’t being used and were quick to use the website when live TV did not meet their wants or needs. On the other hand, linear progression of children and their use of modern technology is limited as their knowledge around their media usage was usually context dependent. Adults contrast with this as their focus upon media use is usually as and when needed, this can be seen with their higher use of on demand streaming services such as iPlayer, Virgin and Sky which contrasts to that of the initial use of television as broadcast TV is beginning to die out. The convenience of watching whenever they like also means that alternative uses of television have also become more popular with products like the iPad becoming ever more used as the years go on. The importance of the internet has also been a steady growth overtime as Ofcom found that most participants with in the study had access to the internet and nearly all of them were frequent internet users. Social media is another service which has attracted a mass of audiences, as many young adults are beginning to use a variety of social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with younger participants with in the study seeing themselves as proficient with in these areas of social media. A key issue that was brought to light by Ofcom with in the study was the use of internet trolling as cyber bullying beginning to increase as most younger candidates had been involved with in some format of media drama including comments, threats and bullying across social media platforms. Ofcom realise the issues surrounding media and the way that it is being used with in everyday life, but at the same time cannot stop the steady increase of technology throughout the UK and at the same time its use within our modern-day society as the study found “13 out of 19 participants in our study own a tablet.” Showing how the media and modern technology has become an everyday essential with in our lives.

I believe that Ofcom chose to carry out this study as a way of looking at the effects of media upon a mass audience. The results clearly show how everyday use of media is becoming a common part of society and has become accepted by a mass audience regardless of age or location. The results found can also show us how media continues to evolve and change our everyday lives both domestically as well as socially and how the world is changing due to newer ideas being put in place around how the media is used and why. Overall, the impact of new technology upon our society is massive and as the results show has had an even bigger influence than what was first imagined. More importantly these changes have happened without anyone really knowing and have become an increasing factor with in our lives. Which raises the question, do we really have any control over the media’s influence?


Data Collected From:

  1. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0026/63629/medialives10-2014.pdf
  2. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/94002/Childrens-Media-Lives-Year-3-report.pdf
  3. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/82803/childrens_media_lives_report_final1.pdf

Image Courtesy Of: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/


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