News and America’s Kids investigates how children get their news, how much they trust different news sources, whether they can spot “fake news,” and more. This report captures children’s candid feelings via an online survey. The survey was conducted in January 2017 and included 853 children age 10–18 drawn from a nationally representative panel, as well as an oversample of African-American and Hispanic/Latino children drawn from an opt-in web panel.
The study explores:
• Where children get news
• Frequency of use of news sources
• Preferred news sources
• Which social media sites children use to source news
• Level of trust in different information sources
• Perceived accuracy of news from different sources
• Feelings about the news
• Perceived importance of issues
The recent report by Common Sense Media provides deeper insight on the reality we all are already quite clear on: technology has completely shifted the manner and mores by which young people engage media content. And though children may have far greater access to news, current events, detailed information and varied opinions what is less clear is the value of this abundance in terms of their comprehension, sense of connectedness and adequate representation in the media, and the overall effects the barrage of questionable material, fake news and adult content has on them.
The report unveils 6 key finding:
1. Kids value the news. Most access it and care about it, and overall they feel smarter when they’re informed.
2. However, kids feel neglected and misrepresented. They don’t feel like the media covers what’s important to them, and they feel misrepresented when they’re covered.
3. Kids see racial and gender bias in the news. Of particular note is the fact that half of U.S. kids say that when they see nonwhite kids in the news, it’s negative and/or related to crime and violence.
4. What kids are seeing scares them and makes them feel depressed.
5. Kids also often are fooled by fake news. This may be why many are extremely skeptical and distrustful of the news media.
6. Kids trust their families and teachers (63%) for news more than any source, but they prefer to get it from social media.
“The main goal of the present study was to provide a comprehensive picture of how children experience the news: where they get news, how news makes them feel, and how they perceive news. Several conclusions are apparent from examining the data. First, news is not only for adults; many children say following the news is important to them, and they get news “sometimes” or “often” from a range of sources. However, many children feel acutely that their voices are not represented in news coverage and that news organizations may not even understand their experiences. This raises larger questions of how news organizations should strive to reach younger audiences, which news topics are of importance to them, and how those topics should be covered.”
The final pages of the report outline all of the questions asked from January 10 to January 22, 2017, via telephone and online by SSRS, an independent research company. Interviews were conducted, among a sample of 853 respondents age 10–18.