How young people use social media: Youth Internet Monitor 2017

  • Awareness
  • 27/03/2017
  • Austrian Safer Internet Centre

Safer Internet Centre (SIC), Saferinternet.at, published the results of the second "Youth Internet Monitor": an inquiry into how young people in Austria use social platforms. Its goal is to keep track of young people's favourite social media platforms and to identify new trends and possible issues at stake.

The representative survey "Youth Internet Monitor 2017" was conducted by the Institute for Youth Culture Research from November to December 2016 (n= 400, 11-17 years).

Youth Internet Monitor 2017 Infographic

Saferinternet.at, CC BY-NC 3.0 AT

According to the survey, the six most popular social platforms in 2017 were:

  • WhatsApp (93 per cent) (-1 percentage points/2016: 94 per cent)
  • YouTube (90 per cent) (+3 percentage points/2016: 87 per cent)
  •  Instagram (68 per cent) (+13 percentage points/2016: 55 per cent)
  • Snapchat (65 per cent) (+13 percentage points/2016: 52 per cent)
  • Facebook (48 per cent) (-21 percentage points/2016: 69 per cent)
  • musical.ly (26 per cent) (NEW/no data for 2016)

What has changed in the usage of internet platforms since 2016?
The decrease in Facebook usage (-21 percentage points) is the most significant change since 2016. The experiences from safer internet workshops in schools and youth centres indicate that Facebook is mostly used as a news channel or for games, instead of serving as a social network. Since 2016, Twitter decreased in usage from the list of platforms used by young people in Austria (-11 percentage points).

Photos and videos have become central to the interactions of young people online. Instagram (+13 percentage points) and Snapchat (+13 percentage points) have experienced a sharp rise in usage as a result.

The platforms WhatsApp and YouTube remain on the top of the ranking since 2016.

One new platform was included in the inquiry this year: musical.ly (26 per cent) is especially relevant for young people (11 to 14 years). This app allows users to record 15-second playback music videos and to share them with others. It is especially relevant to the self-portrayal efforts of young people online.

New survey feature: the most relevant platforms for young people
An additional question was included in the survey that focuses on the relevance young people ascribe to the platforms they use: How important is this platform for you personally?

This question leads to slight changes in the ranking of internet platforms. The six platforms which are considered as "very important" are: WhatsApp (77 per cent), YouTube (45 per cent), Snapchat (43 per cent), Instagram (34 per cent), Facebook (21 per cent), and musical.ly (20 per cent). The results show that WhatsApp is not only the most intensively used, but also the most relevant platform for young people. Snapchat is considered more relevant than Instagram, although their usage is similar. Facebook is only "very important" to every fifth person of the survey.

Do girls and boys use the same social networks?
The "Youth Internet Monitor 2017" shows also big gender differences in internet platform usage. The mostly used platforms WhatsApp and YouTube have the same popularity for boys and girls, but there are substantial gender differences for Instagram (girls: 76 per cent/boys: 60 per cent).

The gap is wider for Snapchat (girls: 76 per cent/boys: 54 per cent) and musical.ly (girls: 37 per cent/boys: 14 per cent). Also, ASKfm (girls: 22 per cent/boys: 11 per cent) and Tumblr (girls: 12 per cent/boys: 3 per cent) enjoy more popularity among girls than boys.

In contrast, the video platform for computer gamers, Twitch, attracts far more boys (25 per cent) than girls (3 per cent).

More information and data in German is available at www.jugendinternetmonitor.at.

Find out more about the work of the Austrian Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.


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