The Social and Psychological Impact of Online Social Networking
APS National Psychology Week Survey 2010
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) sought to investigate the patterns of online social networking and the
social and psychological impact of online social networking in an adult population through its annual community
survey as part of National Psychology Week. An online survey was developed and targeted both users and nonusers of online social networking sites. Completion of the survey involved responding to questions using likert-type
scales, including a measure of sociability and shyness, and providing open-ended responses. The survey was
distributed to the Australian public through advertisements on social networking sites and in local newspapers and
through the use of a „snowballing‟ approach using email distribution. Recruitment of participants was not stratified;
hence the sample may not be representative of the general population.
Key Findings of Survey:
1. While much of the media attention on online social networking has focused on young people‟s use of sites
such as Facebook and MSN, the current survey found that online social networking was being used by people
across the age range with 81 per cent of adults aged 31 to 50 years and 56 per cent of adults over 50 reporting
that they use these sites.
2. Concerns about excessive use of online social networking were investigated. A large proportion of participants
reported accessing these sites several times a day (51%) and feeling a need to log on at times throughout the
day. Participants also believed that they wasted time on these sites. Nevertheless, when time spent on these
sites was considered, 70 per cent of participants reported spending less than two hours a day on these sites.
3. Reports about cyber bullying and risks to children have led to increased fears about the impact of online social
networking, particularly on children and young adults. The survey asked...