Over half of teens ages 13 to 17 have admitted that they are getting their news from YouTube and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
A survey, which involved over a thousand respondents, found that while many young people say it is important that they follow current events, they might not be getting information from reputable sources.
Where Teens Follow Current Events
While news organizations have established an online presence on popular social media platforms, 60 percent of the respondents who get their news from YouTube admitted that they find out about recent events through influencers and celebrities.
Michael Robb, the senior director of research at Common Sense Media, commented that the results of the survey, published on Tuesday, Aug. 13, is a "cause of concern."
"We don't necessarily have a great sense of whether those influencers or celebrities have standards and ethics, or what kind of disclosures they're making," he said in a statement. "Are they objective sources or not? How trustworthy is their research? There's a whole host of things that you would need to understand to know whether something is more legitimate."
Only 41 percent get their news from print and/or digital news organizations. Meanwhile, 37 percent get their news from TV.
In addition, half of the respondents also shared that they watch videos that automatically play or have been recommended to them by YouTube. This causes further concern because the popular video-sharing platform was recently criticized for showing graphic videos alongside content meant for young viewers. Content with hateful messages is also widespread on the site.
Teens Are Interested In Current Events
However, teens say that social media platforms help them keep up-to-date with current events. About 78 percent of respondents believe that it is important to follow the news.
Moreover, many recognize that news organizations are more trustworthy than influencers and celebrities. Only less than 40 percent of respondents say that social media figures get "the facts straight."
"There are few standards for what constitutes news and how accurately it's portrayed on the platforms teens use," added James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media. "With the 2020 election coming up, we need to make sure teens are getting their news from reliable sources, thinking critically, and making informed decisions."