Half of UK kids think digital content should be free

Some 49% of children aged eight to 15 years old agree or strongly agree that they should be able to download or access whatever content they want for free from the web, according to new research.

The study by UK-based market research firm YouGov found that only 7% of children believed that file sharing was “a form of stealing”, and just 16% strongly agreed that it is wrong to access content without the creator’s permission.

Among young people that do file share, 44% said they do so to save money. A quarter of 16-24 year olds said file sharing is the only way they can afford to access such content, while 27% said they thought CDs and DVDs are too expensive.

YouGov research director James McCoy said that the challenge for the media industry is educate young people and “change their mind-set about accessing content.”

“Children aged 8-15 are the key adopters of digital technology, and are likely to be more familiar with accessing content without paying. File sharing is most common amongst younger adults; cost and availability are key drivers,” said McCoy.

“Children in this generation have grown up with digital material and are used to having access to what they want, when they want it and for some of the time not paying for it. They do not just listen and watch digital content; they consume it by downloading, file sharing, streaming, making playlists and going on recommendations from friends or contacts via social media.”

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