Facebook & ‘sharenting’ – what the Irish feel about the Digital Age

By: March 24, 2014
Only 5% of the population admit to over-sharing family moments whereas 79% feel that too much ‘sharenting’ takes place on Facebook Only 5% of the population admit to over-sharing family moments whereas 79% feel that too much ‘sharenting’ takes place on Facebook

How do we Irish truly feel about technology? You read so much these days about the isolation people feel living in the Digital Age and how social media is affecting us all in terrible ways, but do we really feel this way?

Apparently not. We love technology and see social media and the Web as empowering and liberating forces.

While 86% of adults now own a connected device that can be used on the go, the average number of online devices in the home has increased from three in February 2013 to four in February 2014, with the younger generation (16-24 year olds) having access to an average of six potential connected devices in the home.

Tablet growth
According to the latest eircom Household Sentiment Survey (eHSS), this growth is largely due to the surge in the tablet market. Six months ago 25% of Irish people owned a tablet while the latest survey shows 40% (nearly 1.4 million people) now own a tablet.

The survey also suggests family life has become more harmonious due to the influence of technology. 80% of parents with kids aged 5 – 7 feel that technology helps to keep children amused. Over half of the population thinks it allows for a choice of media consumption in the home. The increased popularity of online tutorials and forums for hobbies are also mentioned, as almost half of those surveyed felt that access to these had a positive impact on their lives.

83% of respondents to the survey say that technology has positively influenced their relationships with their friends, while 73% say technology had benefited their relationship. Online dating has become much more sociably acceptable, with one in four 25-35 year olds admitting to visiting an online dating site.

Facebook no longer ‘cool’
As for social network preferences, Facebook usage is falling amongst the younger cohort (16-24 year olds); down 5% points to 89%. The reasons cited for the decline is it is no longer ‘cool’ (30%), while over a quarter of those surveyed said it took up too much of their time and 26% were driven away by bombardment of advertising. The networking site has experienced a rise in use amongst the over 35+ age group, however, growing from 34% in August 2013 to 40% in February 2014.

‘Sharenting’, the phenomenon whereby parents share information on social media about their kids and family life, comes in fort some criticism. Only 5% of the population admit to over-sharing family moments whereas 79% feel that too much ‘sharenting’ takes place on Facebook.

Key findings
• 8 in 10 adults (86%) now have access to an internet enabled device that can be used on the go
• 3 in 5 mobile users (2,063,000) now have smartphones (61%)
• 1.4m people have access to tablets; a 60% growth in the last six months
• The rise of digital commuting: three quarters of commuters feel technology enhances their commute
• Children as young as 10 influence household technology purchases
• ‘Sharenting’ – i.e. sharing of family memories online – is the new phenomenon, but only 5% of the population admit to it
• 8 in 10 people say technology has positively influenced their relationships with friends (83%), colleagues (81%) and children (80%)