Monday 18th June 2012
Young people are using Facebook and Twitter to help them deal with financial, social and emotional problems.
People aged between 18 and 24 will also use YouTube and other social media networks to find solutions to problems because they appreciate its availability and speed of answers, according to research by social enterprise Connect Assist.
In total, 80% of 18 to 24 year-olds use sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on a regular basis, while 2% are unfamiliar with social media.
The research shows 63% use social media to communicate with friends; 43% use it to keep up-to-date with news and current affairs, and 26% use it to follow celebrities.
But the research also found that 17% use social media when looking for support and advice to deal with emotional, social or financial problems, and would use such online networks rather than use a telephone helpline, refer to a paper-based directory or contact a social worker, Citizens Advice Bureau or other public service.
Patrick Nash, chief executive at Connect Assist, said: "Social media is fantastic because it puts control in the hands of the young person and offers them channels of support they might never otherwise have accessed.
"Traditionally this younger demographic has been seen by service providers such as charities and welfare organisations as difficult to engage with, but our research shows that, for many, social media provides the answer."
The survey found that 57% chose to use social media due to its 24/7 availability and 50% like the speed at which information can be accessed.
But they expressed concerns about putting their personal details in the public domain as their primary concern and questioned the quality of information available.