Young Australians prefer to get their news from family, study finds

by | Oct 21, 2019 | Blog, What We're Reading

While one-third of young Australians feel confident about spotting fake news online, most rarely or never try to find out if online news stories are true or not.

Advancing children’s news media literacy: learning from the practices and experiences of young Australians
Media Culture and Society
By Tanya Notley and Michael Dezuanni
July 2019

Not all young people get their news from social media, according to Western Sydney University Australia and Queensland University of Technology researchers Tanya Notley and Michael Dezuanni. 

They found young people prefer to get their news from TV or their family. Therefore, it’s important to be cognizant of how familial beliefs affect the way a student learns media literacy.

Researchers also asked where participants got their news from the previous day:

Although one-third of young Australians said they feel confident about spotting fake news or misinformation online, more than half rarely or never try to find out if online news stories are true or not, according to the study. 

Their study suggests student discussions of getting news from social media can be a critical learning opportunity. “Young people must be meaningfully engaged in the design of policy and regulatory changes that seek to address the scale and impact of widespread disinformation,” they said.


Key Numbers·      

  • Researchers found 56 percent of teenage Australians and 49 percent of children said they sometimes use the same news sources as their parents or guardians.
  • Seventy-two percent of teenagers said they don’t access any news specifically made for people their age.   
  • Over half of 13- to 16-year-olds used Facebook for their news, while 54 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds said they didn’t get their news from any social networking site.
  • Almost one-fifth of participants said they hadn’t accessed news from any of the above sources in the past day.

Study Details

  • The researchers surveyed 1,000 young people in September 2017 about their news consumption, engagement and experience.
  • The results were based on age, on both children (aged 8 to 12 years) and for teens (aged 13 to 16 years). They also looked separately at the results for girls and boys, as well as geography (metropolitan vs rural/remote).
  • One of their key findings is that while young people consume a lot of news as a social experience, most don’t feel confident about spotting fake news.