Children’s Media Lives: Wave 7


This is the seventh wave of the longitudinal Children’s Media Lives study. Since 2014 we’ve been tracking the online behaviours and experiences of 18 children aged between eight and 18, gaining insight into how different factors affect children’s media use, including age, family, social life and society as a whole.

The past year of lockdowns has seen children spend a huge amount of time at home and experiencing several months of online learning. Unsurprisingly the children have been spending significantly more time on their devices, and media activities have become an even more important part of children’s lives.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Most children lacked routine and structure, and as a result were spending long periods of time online
  • Social circles were shrinking, and online friendships were more normalised than in previous waves
  • Some children in the study were watching content online in continuous ‘binges’
  • For most of the children, ‘how you look’ was central to creating their online identity
  • Across the sample, children of all ages were continuing to seek opportunities for self-promotion online and were increasingly aware that this could be monetised
  • Children remained disengaged from major news sources, and most were passively consuming news via social media
  • Many children felt that living life online was a poor substitute for offline activities, and reported lower wellbeing during lockdown than previously