Adults Like Facebook More Than Teens, Pew Says

Eighty-five percent percent of adults surveyed believe that visiting social networks like Facebook are a pleasant way to spend time; that figure comes close to the proportion of teenagers who've witnessed mean or cruel behavior on these sites.

The majority of adults, 85 percent, in a new study believe that visiting social networks like Facebook are a pleasant way to spend time.

The report was published today by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project.

Among the study’s highlights are these numbers:

  • Only a small sampling of adults said their experience on social networks was unpleasant. Five percent of adults said that people are mostly unkind on Facebook and other social media channels, while five percent said their answer depends on the situation.
  • The remainder of adult social network users said they didn’t know how to answer the question or refused to answer it.

When it came to unpleasant behavior on Facebook, adults have seen their share, but incidents occur far less frequently than with teens.

Pew’s study of adults reveals far different — and significantly more positive data — than a similar report issued late last year about the experiences online of young people aged 12 through 17.

Today’s report says that adults are somewhat more likely to stand back, not get involved, and ignore offensive behavior they find online. Pew’s study of teens revealed that one-quarter of the time a negative exchange on a social network led to a face-to-face argument.

Among the more disconcerting statistics from last year’s report:

  • A large majority, 88 percent, of social media-using teens have witnessed other users being mean or cruel on social networks, and
  • 15 percent have been the target of online meanness.

However, more teens said they had positive experiences online rather than negative interactions, despite the antisocial behavior that many young people witnessed and experienced.

The data of adults on social networks was collected from a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center July 25 through August 26, 2011.

Do you agree with Pew that adults seem happier and behave appropriately on Facebook?