Latest Research: Understanding the digital behaviours of older Australians

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner has commissioned research into how older Australians perceive and use digital devices and the internet. This research has been undertaken to inform development of the Be Connected program to provide resources and support training to increase the confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians.

The research comprised:

  • A national survey, conducted between of 3,600 older Australians aged 50 years and over.
  • Focus groups of 26 respondents who were identified as having no to low digital literacy.

Research findings are presented in a summary report, with the full report also available.

Top level findings from this research are also presented in three infographics including:

  1. Attitudes and motivation: The majority of older Australians would like to use the internet more, however, this desire decreases with age. While the majority were interested in training to digitally up skill, there was a clear preference for face to face training. This preference was more pronounced for those with no to low digital literacy.
  2. Confidence: Older Australians who are aged 50 to 69 are significantly more engaged with the internet than their older counterparts. Those who are 70+ years old cited lack of trust, confidence, skills and personal relevance for their digital disengagement.
  3. Fear: Older Australians have fears about going online. Their fears relate to security concerns and a lack of technical skills. Close to half reported experiences related to virus, scam, credit card and personal information theft.

State of play – youth, kids and digital dangers

‘State of play—youth, kids and digital dangers’ completes the eSafety Office’s research series which examines how young people aged 8–17 in Australia deal with the challenges they face online, including:

  • managing their social media
  • contact with strangers online
  • sharing of personal information and passwords
  • dealing with negative online experiences
  • how the negative experiences of young people compared to those of Australian adults.

Top 5 negative experiences of young people include:

  • being contacted by strangers/someone they did not know, 25%
  • being left out by others, 21%
  • having mean things said about them/called names, 19%
  • receiving repeated unwanted online messages from someone, 13%
  • having lies/rumours spread about them, 13%.

State of play – youth and online gaming

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner has drawn together data from its 2017 Youth Participation Survey in the production of this report into youth and online gaming. As one of the first pieces of research on this topic in Australia, this report aims to better understand the:

  • interest among young people in Australia for online gaming and esports, and
  • the prevalence of in-game bullying and coping strategies adopted by young people being bullied while playing video games online.

Some key findings from the report:

  • Online multiplayer gaming is a very popular activity for young Australians, with 6 in 10 young people aged 8-17 having played these games.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 young people have played esport video game titles.
  • An estimated 17% of multiplayer gamers experienced in-game bullying.

Research: Young people and sexting

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner (Australia), Netsafe (New Zealand) and UK Safer Internet Centre with the University of Plymouth (UK) have collaborated on research culminating in this report on young people’s experience of sending and sharing nude and nearly nude images, otherwise known as sexting. This work builds on jointly presented research by these agencies at the inaugural Online Safety on the Edge conference in Sydney on 3 November 2017 which was co-hosted by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner and Netsafe New Zealand. The purpose of this shared research is to better understand the:

  • prevalence of sending and sharing of both solicited and unsolicited nude or nearly nude images or videos, and
  • young people’s influences and motivations for this behaviour.
Young people and sexting research

Research: Image-based abuse

In 2017, the Office commissioned a range of research on image-based abuse. This research included a national survey to determine prevalence, attitudes and support needs, qualitative research with female victims and frontline workers and a study of online distribution channels. This research was undertaken to inform the development of the Office's image-based abuse portal. Related research outputs can be found here.

Research: Social Cohesion

In collaboration with the Department of Education and Training (DET), the Office of the eSafety Commissioner has conducted research to provide an evidence base for policies and programs aimed to promote social cohesion and digital resilience amongst young people.

As part of the research, a national online survey of 2,448 young people aged 12 to 17 was conducted between 25 November and 14 December 2016. Based on this research, the Office has developed three research infographics including:

  1. Young people’s experience with online hate, bullying and violence:  57 per cent of young people have seen real violence online that disturbed them, 56 per cent have seen racist comments online and 53 per cent have seen or heard hateful comments about cultural or religious groups.
  2. Young people’s trust and confidence in online information sources:  Even though young people spend a large amount of time online, most trust information they see on TV more than information they find online. An overwhelming majority of young people source information about overseas conflicts from TV or online sources, with TV and family being the most trusted information sources.
  3. Online Relationships: Despite increasing exposure to technology at a younger age, “offline” friendships remain more important to youth, regardless of age or ethnic background, than online relationships. However, about 1 in 4 young people feel they have more freedom and confidence interacting online.

Reseach: Digital Participation

In 2016, the Office undertook a national survey of kids, teens and parents who use the internet. Parents were asked about their approach to online safety, and what information they need to support their children to be safe online. Kids aged 8 to 13 and teens aged 14 to 17 were asked detailed questions about their internet use and online practices, including how they manage their negative experiences online.

The national survey was undertaken in June 2016. It had two parts: a parent survey and a child survey. The total sample comprised 1,367 kids, 912 teens and 2,360 parents. Only one child and one parent were interviewed per household. The survey was conducted online.

Research insights: Young and social online

The Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner has released research about young people’s use of social media and their attitudes towards it. Young and Social Online includes data on the top 5 social media services used, privacy settings and personal information shared on social media by young Australians. Young people’s likes and dislikes about social media are also covered.       

Research insights: Connected kids and teens

Being online is an integral part of young people’s lives. The video explores the digital practices of teens and kids. They use a range of devices to go online. There are key differences between the online habits of teens and kids. For example, how they socialise, their online time and types of online activities.

Research insights: Teens, kids and digital dangers

This video presents the findings on kids’ and teens’ negative experiences online, particularly cyberbullying. It sets out the prevalence of specific cyberbullying behaviours, the adverse effects of negative online experiences and any action taken after the incident. It also explores the types of cyberbullying incidents witnessed by kids and teens.

Research infographics

Other research

Aussie teens and kids online

This research snapshot sheds light on how young people are engaging online, the devices they use and the services and activities that draw them online, providing an update to Aussie teens online released by the ACMA in July 2014.

Understanding the levels of online engagement by young people is the first step in exploring related issues such as trust and online safety, themes which will be explored in future research.
Explore Aussie teens and kids online >>

Social media and kids

Presents data on the number of young Australians accessing social media and game websites including total time spent on these sites, number of web pages of web content viewed and total number of sessions.

See our research infographic >>

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