1 Universidad Metropolitana (VENEZUELA)
2 Universidad Camilo José Cela (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 5451-5455
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
Drawing on the review of data, statistics and analysis of various world-wide observatories for the study of Internet and social networks, a new context arises in Spain and Venezuela which defines present day communication and has special impact on young generations. Investigations show that social networks have become the means used by young people to establish connections and maintain communication (Millennnials & Social Media, 2010; O´Keeffe & Clarke-Pearson, 2011; Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2010).
This research compares the results of Venezuelan and Spanish samples in order to assess the most important differences and similarities and to inquire about the reasons that motivate adolescents to become users of social networks. Our purpose is to determine which social networks are preferred and their use, as well as how such interfere with social relations.
An ex post facto design was used for this research, with two types of variables: 1. Subjects’ homeland, Spain or Venezuela; 2. Variables that dealt with different aspects linked to the use of social networks.
Sample: 2 groups of subjects, ages from 12 to 16, one from Caracas, Venezuela, 1103, and the other from Madrid, Spain, 1255.
After grouping differences and similarities between samples, these were categorized depending on the instrument, since the first part of the study refers to the specific use that adolescents make of Internet and the second part into their customary practices in the use of the networks. Major differences in terms of use reflect that parental restrictions on the use of the internet are much greater in the case of Spain (44.9%) vs. Venezuela (18%). In terms of the period of time as users of the Internet, Venezuelans surpass Spanish adolescents in the option “more than 4 years” (79% vs. 41.5%). The same observation is made regarding the period of time as users of social networks (Venezuelans: 61.2% vs. Spanish 20.4%).
As for social networks, there is a preference for Tuenti among teenagers in Spain (93%), while Venezuelan teenagers have a preference for Facebook (91.2%).
Regarding how teenagers use the networks, the Spanish use them to contact friends, meet new people and gossip, while for the Venezuelan group, the primary use is to socialize. As for the actions, young Spaniards have a preference for updating their profile (67.3% vs. 37.4) and gossiping (48.5% vs. 25.5%). Venezuelans, in contrast, think that the networks do not guarantee their personal safety (73.2% vs. 54.2%). 40% of the Venezuelan group reported having encountered strangers, while only 6.7% of the sample of Spain.
The most important similarities were: The main use of both countries make of the networks is to keep in touch with friends and to socialize. The last option selected is because it is fashionable. Both groups agree that they have more than 100 contacts in their respective networks and those belong to their circle of friends. The action in the social network that both prefer is to share photos, what both like less is to play online. Nearly all the subjects have a computer, and the most frequent specific use they make of internet is to access Messenger, social networks, and download movies and music; to a lesser extent they use chats and Blogs. Also, young people in both countries agree that they prefer to go out with friends and to do sports. Finally, it is noted that the networks are very well known in both samples (Spain: 96.2%, Venezuela: 98.6%).
Adolescents, Social networks, comparative research.