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Adolescents Online: How does a young person’s use of social media change over time?

Dec 3, 2021

The Australian Institute of Family Studies have published a research snapshot called “Adolescents Online”. The snapshot uses data from the “Growing up in Australia: Longitudinal Study of Australia Children” (LSAC) which tracked young people from ages 12-13 in 2012 through to their turning 16-17 in 2016. The young people were asked to report on their use of social media, along with mental health symptoms, attitudes towards online and offline interactions and experiences of cyberbullying. The report found that the majority of young people spent more time interacting with friends in person rather than online, although the amount of time spent online increased as they aged. Young people with autism and mental health problems were more likely to interact with friends online, and felt more comfortable doing so. There was a correlation between increase frequency of social media use and greater risk of having symptoms of depression and anxiety, however it remains unclear if the is because young people who are depressed and anxious prefer social media as a way of engaging over engaging in real life. The report also found that one in four young people reported experiencing cyber bullying.

Go to “Adolescents Online: Snapshot series - Issue 5”