For Safer Internet Day 2017 the UK Safer Internet Centre carried out research looking into the digital lives of young people, and the role that images play in this.
1,500 young people aged 8-17 years old took part in our online survey conducted by ResearchBods. The research looked at the power of images in young people’s lives and the influence this can have on their self-esteem, behaviour and emotions.
Sharing images online
The research looked at how many of the young people had shared a photo in the last hour. The research showed that 1 in 6 had shared a photo online in the last hour, and 1 in 8 had shared a selfie in the last day.
The research also explored the influence that selfies had on self-esteem. The research found that 43% of those asked worry about how attractive they look when they share images online. It also found that 45% of 8-17 year olds had used a filter on a photo in the last year to make themselves look more attractive.
Interestingly, the research also showed that 70% of 8-17s said they have seen images and videos not suitable for their age in the last year and that almost 2 in 5 (38%) have received negative comments on a photo they have posted. This was shown to have had a real impact on young people’s behaviour online, as 2 in 5 (40%) said that they sometimes don’t post images because of concerns about receiving mean comments. It is encouraging however that 80% said they have received positive comments on a photo they posted.
Images and videos can have a powerful influence on children’s self-esteem, beliefs and behaviours, but the majority of young people find it hard to critically evaluate the images and videos they find online.
Despite 70% of 8-17 year olds recognising that images and videos can be misleading and don’t always tell the full story, only a third (33%) of young people say they find it easy to check if the images and videos they find online are truthful. Almost half (48%) said they are more likely to trust something has happened if they see an image or video of it.
Over half (56%) of young people aged 8-17 years said they have shared images or videos on a public social media profile, with almost a third (31%) saying that most of the photos they share are on a public profile that can be seen by anyone. Almost a quarter said they don’t know how to control who can see what they post on social media (23%). Only half of 8-17 year olds (51%) said they always think about what personal information they could be sharing before they post a photo or video online
Inspiring young people
It’s clear that SID is a great opportunity for young people to feel empowered. 4 in 5 young people said that they had been inspired by an image or video online to take positive action online and offline. Young people shared with us how they had taken positive action:
Read the full Power of Image Report and the executive summary at www.Saferinternet.org.uk