Need help dealing with violent or distressing online content? Learn more

Online relationships

Online relationships

Some young Australians aged 12 to 17 feel more at ease online than offline.

Here are some reasons why:

More freedom

  • 26% feel that they have more freedom online
  • 29% feel the same level of freedom offline and online
  • 39% feel they have more freedom offline

More confidence

  • 24% feel more confident online
  • 41% feel more confident offline
  • 30% feel that their level of confidence is the same online and offline

More open

  • 21% feel they can express what they think online
  • 38% feel that they are more open offline
  • 36% feel that there is no difference online and offline

Time with friends

  • 18% spend the same amount of time with friends online and offline
  • 63% spend more time with friends offline
  • 18% spend more time with friends online. 

The proportion who spent more time with friends online was higher for: 

  • older teens: 20% for 15 to 17 year olds compared to 15% for 12 to 14 year olds
  • those born overseas: 22%, compared to 17% for those born in Australia


  • 78% have best friends who they interact with offline only
  • 15% have best friends who they interact with both online and offline
  • 6% have best friends who they interact with solely online

Feel safer

  • 52% feel safer offline than online
  • 31% feel equally safe online and offline
  • 11% feel safer online than offline

Source: Research commissioned by the eSafety and the Department of Education and Training, November to December 2016. Respondents comprised 2,448 young people aged 12 to 17 years in Australia. 

More findings from this research

Last updated: 11/11/2021