Publication - Research and analysis

Growing up in Scotland: life at age 12

Published: 4 Jul 2019
Directorate:
Children and Families Directorate
Part of:
Children and families
ISBN:
9781787818576

Some initial findings about the lives of 12-year-old children living in Scotland, using data collected from the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS).

Growing up in Scotland: life at age 12
Social media and internet use

Social media and internet use

To measure social media and internet use, children were asked about how much time they spent online on an average school day and how much they knew about protecting themselves and their personal information online. Children were also asked how much they thought their parents knew about what they did online. Information about parental knowledge of what the child does online was also collected directly from parents.

On an average school day, most children (57%) spent less than two hours on social media or messaging people via text, Instagram, Snapchat, or online games. Overall, boys spent less time on social media than girls. For example, boys were more likely than girls to report not spending any time on social media on an average school day (14% compared with 5%). In contrast, girls were more likely than boys to spend five or more hours per school day on social media or messaging people (15% compared with 10%).

Time spent on social media by gender[4]

Time spent on social media by gender

Children living in households where at least one parent had a degree level qualification were less likely than those whose parents had lower qualifications to spend a lot of time on social media. Twenty percent of children in households with a parent with a degree level qualification spent more than 3 hours per day on social media or messaging people compared with 36% of those in households with parents with no qualifications.

Children who spent 3 or more hours on social media by household educational qualification

Children who spent 3 or more hours on social media by household educational qualification

Most children stated that they knew a great deal about protecting themselves online and about protecting their personal information online (70% and 72% respectively). Of the remainder, most said they knew quite a lot about protecting themselves and their personal information online (27% and 26% respectively). Almost no children (1%) said they knew nothing at all about these issues. There were no significant differences between boys’ and girls’ views on protecting themselves and their personal information online.

differences between boys’ and girls’ views on protecting themselves and their personal information online

Forty three percent of children thought that their parents knew almost everything about what they were doing online. Thirty eight percent said that their parents knew quite a lot, 15% that they knew just a little and 4% almost nothing about what they do online. Children’s perceptions about what their parents knew about their online activity was associated with the child’s gender. Girls were more likely than boys to believe that their parents knew almost everything about what they were doing online (49% compared with 37%).

Proportion of children who believed their parents knew almost everything about what they were doing online by gender

Proportion of children who believed their parents knew almost everything about what they were doing online by gender

More than half (56%) of parents said they knew quite a lot about their child’s online activity. Unlike children’s views, parental perceptions did not vary according to their child’s gender. However, parents’ views did vary by their level of education. Parents with no educational qualifications were more likely than parents with degree level qualification to state they knew almost everything about their child’s online activity (33% compared with 23%). In contrast, parents with degree level qualifications were more likely to say they knew quite a lot compared with those with no qualifications (59% compared with 40%).

Proportion of parents who said they knew almost everything about what their child does online by household educational qualifications

Proportion of parents who said they knew almost everything about what their child does online by household educational qualifications


Contact

Email: GUS@gov.scot