Ruth Mitchell

Young moving away from ?old media?

16-24 year olds are spending an average of three hours a week online, a report by Ofcom has revealed.

2005 saw rapid growth in the reach and usage of social networking websites (such as MySpace, Friends Reunited and Bebo), which allow users to create online profiles and connect with friends or others with similar interests. 40% of adults with internet access have used these sites; that figure rises to 70% among 16-24 year-olds, with over half in this age group using them at least weekly.

With the advent of increasingly faster internet connections, the 16-24 year group watches significantly less than older generations, who on average are watching 7 hours more each week. The digital age is also contributing to a decline of the more traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and radio. Although it may not be surprising that a younger generation who has grown up with these new technologies is engaging more with them, the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) is keen to find out what this means in social terms. Kay Withers, a researcher at the IPPR said: “We want to find out what it means to turn away from newspapers and public service broadcasting, and to find out the types of news sources they are now favouring. “This could have a major impact on media regulation, public policy and on the political world too.”

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