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Social Network Site Uses, Friendship Networks, and Well-Being of Australian Adolescents

Fri, June 10, 9:30 to 10:45, Fukuoka Hilton, Sage


Social network site (SNS) use has been associated with young people’s social relationships and networks. However, little is known about how different activities on SNSs are related to friendship networks and the overall well-being of adolescents. This study aims to systematically examine types of online activities among youth and their influence on perceived stress and well-being. An interviewer-assisted face-to-face survey of Australian adolescents aged 13–15 (N = 401) was conducted in Sydney during October and December 2013. The results show that frequent SNS users have larger online networks, interact more frequently with close friends, and feel a stronger sense of social support from friends, compared to infrequent SNS users. Having a group of close friends with whom they interact frequently (regardless of communication method), and using SNS for communicative and sharing purposes, were positively related to adolescents’ well-being. Using SNS for monitoring increased stress and was moderated by interaction with peers. The types of online activities are more important in determining adolescents’ perceptions of well-being (as measured by Satisfaction with Life Scale) and stress (as measured by Perceived Stress Scale) than duration and frequency of internet use. Communicative and sharing activities are generally favorable for adolescents’ perceptions of well-being. Close friends and social support still remain significant factors in adolescents’ well-being even in a highly connected online environment.