Diversification of the uses of social networking platforms by adolescents


This paper focuses on the characteristics of the uses and consumption of social networking platforms by minors. The study of this phenomenon in a sector of the population is complex, since it is an object of study with high volatility (Fietkiewicz, Lins, Baran, & Stock 2016). In the case of teenagers, who have a high consumption, the current trend at the international level seems to point (Knight-McCord et al., 2016; Huang and Su, 2018) to a greater use of Instagram, followed by other platforms such as Snapchat or Facebook. On the one hand, the general use of Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook is analysed and, on the other hand, the influence of age and gender variables is measured.

This study is based on data collected in a survey applied to a statistically representative sample (n=524) of students enrolled in Obligatory Secondary Education in the Community of Madrid (Spain) (12-16 years old), during the 2019-2020 school year. The error analysis was set at ± 4.37% for the overall data under the assumption of p=q=0.5 with a 95% confidence level, and under the assumption of simple random sampling. For the analysis of the data, contingency tables were made and significant differences were placed at the statistical validity level of χ2 < 0.05.

Socialization needs and the search for entertainment are the key factors for understanding social network consumption by adolescents. Most of teenagers chose Instagram to carry out a large part of their activities on social networks, for example, to publish personal content (93.3%) or to carry out updates about what they do or where they are (91.1%). Next is YouTube the social network that stands out, especially in actions related to watching videos and music (92.1%) and searching for contents on hobbies (72.1%). At the same time, the gender and age variables showed an important role in their online behaviour, mainly on Instagram and YouTube, as well as in relation to a relevant part of the activities that adolescents carried out on social networks.

Fietkiewicz, K. J.; Lins, E.; Baran, K. S. & Stock, W. G. (2016). Inter-generational comparison of social media use: Investigating the online behavior of different generational cohorts. In 2016 49th HICSS, (p. 3829-3838. IEEE.

Huang, Y. T. & Su, S. F. (2018). Motives for instagram use and topics of interest among young adults. Future Internet, 10(8), 77.

Knight-McCord, J., Cleary, D., Grant, N., Herron, A., Lacey, T., Livingston, T., & Emanuel, R. (2016). What social media sites do college students use most. Journal of Undergraduate Ethnic Minority Psychology, 2(21), 21-26