Will Somebody Think About the Children [Survey Result]

In June I told you I was going to a conduct survey on how teenagers use social media, especially within the context of how they are educated on the subject and career potential. I have collected to results and will share them with you here. Before I spill the beans, there are a few things I would like to clarify:

  1. This is by no means a scientific study backed up by hard figures and statistics. It is merely a representation of a very small group.
  2. Most answers were gathered on Boards.ie (around 85%), therefore allowing for a greater aptness of internet usage.
  3. These results are open for correction and different interpretations.
  4. The original survey can be found here.
  5. The survey and responses were double checked and analyzed by Ilse Van Dyck, who loves number-crunching and she also supplied the graphs.

Most popular networks & Daily usage

Facebook is clearly the most popular social network: all of the respondents know and use Facebook. Facebook is however part of a mix of different networks: the multitude of respondents know (and use) different channels: YouTube (used by 85%), MSN Messenger (76%), BeBo (68%) and MySpace (44%) are the most popular.

On top of that, almost half of the respondents (49%) checks these sites every day. 29% is online almost every day.

Education Curriculum

4 out of 5 has computers available in school, which, in 91% of the cases are solely used for educational purposes.

The majority (68%) learned to work with Microsoft Office. Only 5 respondents were taught how to email or work with Google. A mere three lucky ones learned about building websites.

Only one respondent said social networks were used during lessons. The majority was forbidden to use them an 27% were never told about the possibilities of using social networks for future career purposes.

Career opportunities & Business usage

83% say they would (probably) use social media to advertise their own company. The majority would use the company’s website (85%) and Facebook (76%) for this purpose.

All respondents know Twitter, but only 17% actually uses it. They follow an average of 130 people and have 113 followers themselves.

Only 7% thinks they would ever get a job by using social media. 41% is not sure, while another 41% thinks it is not possible at all to secure employment through social networking.

If they were to hire someone themselves, only 29% would use social media to post vacancies. 63% doesn’t see the greater “social media” as a possible future career.


63% are a little bit worried about privacy issues on the internet. 15% doesn’t really care, while 1 out of 10 is definitely worried. 56% is (a little bit) worried that their future employer might stumble upon embarrassing facts about them online.

Finally, 85% googled themselves.

In conclusion – I think it’s fair to say that my presumptions unfortunately turned out to be correct and educational institutions are far  behind in offering proper education on how to use the internet for different purposes, which I think should change, sooner than later. In this day and age, where so many people shop, talk, do business and network online, a huge part of teenagers future lives will take place on the internet in one way or another. It is our responsibility to ensure they are capable of accessing the many opportunities that are available for careers in an online environment. It is time for schools to put their feet back on the ground, get in touch with reality and embrace social networks as an educational tool.


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