Digital Australians | ACMA

Digital Australians

Digital Australians examines the impact of the increasing use of digital media on Australians' attitudes and expectations about media content issues and their regulation.

The research findings suggest that Australians' media use is changing; however, the use of traditional media like TV and radio remains the most common activity for many. More about Australians' media use is contained in chapter 2 of the report.

Older Australians are more likely to be heavier users of broadcast media, while younger Australians use online media a lot more. Social networking and viewing online content and catch-up television are also primarily undertaken by younger groups. For more information about the generational differences between use of and attitudes towards media click here.

Social networking activities undertaken in past month by age and gender, 2011

Total sample (n=1250) 18-29 (n=262) 30-44 (n=353) 45-54 (n=233) 55+ (n=402) Male (n=613) Female (n=637)
% % % % % % %
Undertaken other social networking activities (e.g. browsing others' profiles, staying in touch with friends) 49 71 49 41 41 43 56
Watched video content or clips through a social media site such as Facebook 25 45 25 20 14 26 24
Accessed the news through a social media website (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace-not YouTube) 22 36 25 15 13 18 25
NET social networking activities 58 78 59 50 48 53 62

Australians are generally less concerned about what's shown on TV. This may be in part because they are aware of the rules and regulations that apply to TV content, but less certain about the regulation of internet content. For more information about awareness of regulation and media content click here.

Most participants saw the internet as an enormous repository of content that also created opportunities for new voices and different views, whereas traditional media was seen as offering little opportunity for users to contribute. For more information on concerns about the internet, click here.

Online content produced by traditional media organisations-print or broadcast-was usually expected to meet the same or similar standards as the organisation's offline content. To find out more about content versus platform, click here.

Consumer advice, such as classification and ratings information was seen as being more important for traditional television content (free-to-air TV or subscription TV) than user-generated content on the internet, watching television/movies on the internet or for online games. To find out more about the usefulness of consumer information across media click here.

Participants  acknowledged that protecting children from accessing inappropriate or unsuitable content online is particularly important. While many saw this as the primary responsibility of parents, it is an area where participants thought there was also a responsibility for both content service providers and government. For more information about protecting children click here.

Who is responsible for preventing children from seeing too much sex and violence on the internet?

Total sample (n=1250) 18-29 (n=262) 30-44 (n=353) 45-54 (n=233) 55+ (n=402) Male (n=613) Female (n=637)
% % % % % % %
Parents 89 85 89 87 94 87 92
The industry/content providers/broadcasters 50 49 49 56 47 43 56
The government 39 41 42 42 33 36 41
Someone else 2 1 2 2 2 2 2
No one has responsibility 2 5 1 0 2 3 1

For many, the internet provides better and more immediate local, national and international news than television or radio, although television is the main source of news for Australians. However, there was a perception that accuracy could suffer due to the need for immediacy and exposure. More about expectations of news and current affairs is contained in chapter 4 of the report.

Participants recognised the importance of Australian content on television for continuity of the local production industry and to foster a sense of Australian cultural identity. More about Australian content is contained in chapter 6 of the report.

Privacy loomed as the top of mind concern for participants when using digital media, rather than issues around content. More about privacy and consumer protection is contained in chapter 7 of the report.

No single regulatory approach was thought to be most suitable for the current media environment; rather, a mixture of approaches was needed to achieve and address community expectations. For more information on roles of individuals, industry and government click here.

Only slightly more than half of respondents were confident in managing the security of personal information online and protecting their computer from malware. All age groups were interested in learning digital skills in the area of privacy. More about confidence in online abilities, and interest in learning more, is contained in chapter 8 of the report.

The full report is available in Word or PDF.

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