Key findings

Of the Australians that responded to the FoMO Questionnaire, adults were spending 2.1 hours per day and teens 2.7 hours per day connected to social media. This provides a direct comparison between adults and teens.

Social media is affecting how Australians behave, with 56 per cent of teens reporting they are heavy social media users (connecting 5+ times per day), with 25 per cent being constantly connected.

When we look at the adult population - almost one in four (23%) report being heavy social media users, with 6 per cent of those being constantly connected.

Social media is both a cause of stress and a means of managing stress.

  • More than one in ten Australians (12%) report ‘issues with keeping up with social media networks’ as a source of stress (2015).
  • More people are reporting using social media to manage stress, with almost one in two Australians now reporting visiting social media sites to manage stress (37% in 2011 vs 51% in 2015).

Social media dominates the life of many teens.

  • Over half of Aussie teens (53%) connect to social media 15 minutes before bed every night.
  • Almost two in five connect (37%) in the presence of others and within 15 minutes of waking up.
  • Almost one in four Australian teens (24%) reported using social media when they were eating breakfast and lunch seven days a week.

    The impact of social media use on Australian’s wellbeing is evident in a range of ways: more than one in two teens (57%) find it difficult to sleep or relax after spending time on social networking sites and 60 per cent feel brain ‘burnout’ from constant connectivity of social media.

Both Australian adults and teens experience Fear of Missing Out (FoMO): one in two teens and one in four adults experience FoMO.

Teens connected to social media more frequently (five or more times a day, i.e. heavy users) are significantly more likely to experience aspects of FoMO such as:

  • It is important that I understand my friends in-jokes (78%);
  • Fearing their friends are having more rewarding experiences than them (54%);
  • Worrying when they find out their friends are having fun without them (60%); and
  • Being bothered when they miss out on planned get-togethers (63%).

At the same time, not only do fewer adults report being constantly connected to social media (6%), they are also less affected by FoMO than teens. For instance, of those adults connected to social media more frequently (five or more times a day, i.e. heavy users):

  • It is important that I understand my friends in-jokes (32%);
  • Fearing their friends are having more rewarding experiences than them (26%);
  • Worrying when they find out their friends are having fun without them (17%); and
  • Being bothered when they miss out on planned get-togethers (31%).

When looking at the relationship between heavy social media use and FoMO, teens are significantly more likely to experience all aspects of FoMO than adults. This suggests that social media has a greater impact on teens and plays a role in their identity formation and their search for a sense of self.