Age differences in closed social network groups

SHMU's Incluso assistant Irene Jimenez has been reflecting on age differences and engagement with the closed social network at one of SHMU's pilots.

She finds that:

  • Young people under 14 years of age are far more likely to engage with the Ning site we created
  • Young people aged 14 and over are far less likely to take part
  • Under 14s respond when Incluso staff engage with them
  • Over 14s rarely reply to messages from staff (is it because they don't log onto the site?)
  • Over 14s invited one another to become friends, but ignored friend invites from under 14s
  • Under 14s talk about the site with staff, and have thoughts about it
  • Over 14s don't talk about the site, and are very negative about it when staff attempt to discuss it
  • Most over 14s use social networking sites such as Bebo, Facebook, Tagged
  • Most under 14s have not yet got accounts on any of these sites (because of the age restriction?)
  • Females under 14 are the most motivated to engage with the Incluso project
  • Males over 14 are least likely to engage
  • Males under 14 are the most likely to experiment with site functions and 3rd party apps
  • Under 14s are excited at updates on the site, over 14s ignore them

Irene is interested in whether the current under 14s will develop the same negative attitude to the Ning site when they reach 14 + years of age. Unfortunately, the Incluso research project won't contuinue for that period of time.