Screen and Social Media Use Amongst Young Aussies

Nov 23, 2023 | News

By: Mark McCrindle

Today, a vast majority of connection is carried out online. With the internet, social media, and instant messaging making sociability possible at all times, this ease of instant connectivity has created both benefits and challenges for people to navigate.

Almost half of Australians (47%) indicate that social media is having a negative impact on their mental health. It raises concerns of how to manage the overall usefulness of social media against the harms it can bring.

While Gen Z are more accustomed to using their social media for connection and relationship, this generation is also trying to discern the delicate balance between screen usage, productivity and connection. They are also reflecting on the costs versus benefits of spending extended time on screens and are becoming acutely aware of the impact this is having on their mental health.

Gen Z are most likely to agree that social media use is having a negative impact on their mental health (70% compared to 56% Gen Y, 44% Gen X, 21% Baby Boomers). Moderating their use may be the best way forward for these young Aussies.

Young woman looking at phone
Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash .

Screens within minutes of sleep

Young people’s phones are often at their bedside or acting as their alarm to wake for the day. With an added draw-card of providing connection to their friends, it is no surprise that Gen Z and Gen Y are accessing their phone first thing to catch up on notifications and messages.

Four in five Gen Z (80%) access their phone during the last 3 minutes before they go to bed at night (compared to 75% Gen Y, 60% Gen X and 33% Baby Boomers). This is also true in the morning, where Gen Z and Gen Y are most likely to be checking their phone within the first three minutes of waking up (74% Gen Z, 79% Gen Y compared to 58% Gen X, 31% Baby Boomers).

Despite Australians accessing their phone within minutes of waking and sleeping, they are all too aware of their desire to change these habits. More than half of Aussies (56%) agree they struggle spending too much time on screens and technology, and a greater proportion are trying to reduce the amount of time they spend on social media (67%).

Young woman taking selfie
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

A desire for change

Given the likelihood for young Aussies to be on their phones at sensitive times of the day, these younger generations are becoming increasingly aware of their social media and screen usage and the impacts this is having on them personally.

Three quarters of Gen Z (74%) and 72% of Gen Y indicate they struggle spending too much time on screens and technology (compared to 53% Gen X, 28% Baby Boomers). While social media provides many benefits for connection and relationship, it is clear these generations are trying to actively pursue life beyond screens.

As Australians increasingly navigate the realms of screens and social media, it’s clear that this technological connectivity, while fostering relationships, comes at a price, notably impacting mental wellbeing. Despite the allure of constant connection, an overall desire for change suggests that a healthier balance between screen time and genuine, offline experiences is crucial for sustaining a fulfilling social life.

Generation Z Infographic

Drawing on the insights from our new Generations Defined report, this infographic on Generation Z includes data on, their population and workforce participation, top hopes & fears, qualities they value in leaders.

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