[United Kingdom] The UK media regulator says a 'Greta Thunberg effect' means more children are engaging in online activism

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05 Feb 2020

The year 2019 was especially important for Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who was selected as Person of the Year by TIME magazine for her environmental activism and gave a number of high-profile speeches.

UK media regulator Ofcom has identified a significant increase in the use of social media by British children to engage in online activism. Ofcom called this the "Greta Effect".

The Ofcom study was based on more than 3,500 interviews with British children and parents, with the aim of measuring their attitudes towards digital media, where they found:

  • Compared to 2018, more children were likely to support social organizations or causes on social media.
  • This study found that 10% of 12 15-year-olds had signed up for a social media petition in the past year.
  • The study also found that half of 10-year-olds in the UK had their smartphones, while nearly a quarter of young children aged 3 to 4 had their tablet.

Despite the fact that children are increasingly using their devices to engage with social and political causes, Ofcom noted that parental concerns about issues like harmful content and online bullying persist.

The World Health Organization recently advised parents to limit screen time for children under five to just one hour a day, while for children under one year to be completely banned.

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