Social networking and the social and emotional wellbeing of adolescents in Australia.


Technology and social networking tools and sites are changing the way young people build and maintain their social connections with others (Boyd & Ellison, 2008). This study utilised a new measure, The Self in a Social Context, Virtual Connectedness subscale (SSC-VC subscale), to examine the effects of social networking tools and sites on social and emotional wellbeing among 1,037 Australian young people aged 11-18 years. A maximum likelihood factor analysis identified three strong factors: Fit In (alpha = .81), Public Self (alpha = .79) and Connected Self (alpha = .83). Significant main effects were revealed for the number of times students checked their Facebook F(12, 2415) = 13.8, p < .001, and for gender, F(3, 913) = 10.8, p < .001, but no interaction effect was found. Univariate tests also revealed a significant difference for Frequency of checking Facebook, F(4, 915), = 4.98, and for Gender, F(1, 915), = 46.92, p < .001 on the dependent variable of Emotional Difficulties. These findings suggest that social networking sites, though used differently by males and females, provide an important forum for building social connections across groups.