75% of 3rd-year junior high school students get news from social media

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Three in four students in the third year of junior high school get news from social media, according to a survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun and Dentsu Institute.

The survey was conducted from September to October on about 6,300 students in the fourth year of elementary school to the third year of junior high school at 42 schools cooperating with Yomiuri Education Network.

According to the survey, 56.3% of all respondents get their news via smartphones or other devices, and 47% do not check the news source.

The survey was conducted to find out how the diversification of media has changed children’s attitudes toward news.

By school year, the percentage of respondents who said they get their news from social media was highest among third-year junior high school students, at 75.2%, and lowest among fourth-year elementary school students, at 30.6%.

The higher the school year, the higher the percentage.

Asked whether they check the source of online news stories, 43.1% of fourth-year elementary school students and 47.7% of third-year junior high school students said they did not.

More junior high school students than elementary school students said they did check the source. Among third-year junior high schoolers, 49.0% checked the source, the highest percentage over all year groups.

Almost half of the students said news from social media is “trustworthy” or “more or less trustworthy,” averaging 48.9% among all respondents.

“Children don’t really feel that they can be deceived by information on the internet,” said Prof. Yoshiaki Hashimoto of Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, who is knowledgeable about problems regarding smartphone use by children. “It is important to teach elementary and junior high school students that the internet is rife with fake news and inaccurate information.”