Children’s Media Lives: Wave 6


Wave 6 of our pioneering longitudinal study of children’s media and technology habits, highlighting a range of complex social issues to help Ofcom stay ahead of the game.

The sixth wave of the Children’s Media Lives study draws on filmed interviews and ethnographic techniques as used in previous waves, and supplements these with screen recording, social media tracking and 360 filming techniques. These enable the research to get beyond what children say to provide evidence of what they are actually doing.

The study provides an in-depth understanding of how a sample of 18 children, aged 8-18, are thinking about and using digital media, and how this differs and is influenced by age, life-stage, family circumstances, peer groups and wider society. It explores how digital media use evolves over time as children develop, and in response to offline factors such as new schools, friendships, and access to new technologies.

This research found that in 2019:

  • Some children are emulating influencers on their social media profiles, and some of these have a sense that their own following is a form of influence.
  • Children tend to keep their online profiles minimal, but some are provoking attention online by posting questions and gamified or sexualised content .
  • Several children in our sample have seen upsetting content online at some point, but some claim to be resilient to this and have coping strategies to deal with it effectively.