Facebook part of daily routine for Australians

Monday, November 15, 2010

SYDNEY - A whopping 97 percent of Australian adults under the age of 30 say social networking website Facebook has now become part of their everyday routine and their friendships have come to depend on it.

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) conducted a study among over 1,800 people and found that just three percent of respondents aged 18 to 30 opted out completely and did not have a Facebook profile or equivalent online account, the AAP reported Monday.

Even among respondents aged up to 80 years, the percentage of those who shunned all forms on online social networking was less than 15 percent.

“It is really ingrained in our society now,” said Rebecca Mathews, a researcher at the APS. “It is a major change in the way we communicate.”

Overall 86 percent respondents were using online social networking websites. The majority used Facebook and Twitter.

The majority - 77 percent - of users checked their profile daily, while 51 percent did so “several times” daily.

While 53 percent said the websites gave them more regular contact with friends and family, 79 percent said it fostered closer ties with those living far away.

About a quarter - 26 percent - said they had more face-to-face contact as a result of online social networking.

Half of users - 52 percent - aged 18 to 30 said they would “lose contact with many of their friends if they stopped”.

Experts raised a hypothetical question - what if Facebook was switched off for ever.

“I don’t think we’d fall in a heap, but it would be a major adjustment,” Mathews said. “Once we introduce technology we really struggle to go backwards.”

The research was released to mark National Psychology Week during Nov 14-20.

Filed under: Science and Technology

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