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Social Networking: Quantitative data from Australia

Abstract bar graph

ACMA released its report Young Australian’s use of online social media mid 2009. Being somewhat numerically inclined, I was drawn to the quantitative report (though a qaulitative report was also published). This allows a quick and recent snapshot of internet use and opinion in Australia. I have focused on the results for social networking sites and trends in usage.

Who is using social networking services?

  • 8-9 Years     : 37%
  • 10-11 Years : 64%
  • 12-13 Years : 80%
  • 14-15 Years : 94%
  • 16-17 Years : 97%

What does this tell us? Social networking use increases as students progress through high school. It is a ubiquitous feature of contemporary Australian adolescent life.

Why are students using social media?

Teen motivations for use of social media

Image source

Privacy Issues

Over the range of ages, 20-30% of students are not making use of private access settings for social media pages. a further 5-10% are unsure. Rates of uptake of privacy settings increase with age (up to 76% with 17 year old students).

Yet parents are afraid. In the figure below documenting parental concerns, the first question is most interesting as it breaks from the symmetric patterns of concern seen with the other questions.

Parental concerns over childrens' use of social media

Image source

Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA). (2009b). Click & connect: Young Australian’s use of online social media. 02: Quantitative research report. Sydney: Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/aba/about/recruitment/click_and_connect-02_quantitative_report.pdf .

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