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Chinese people are less habitual of social networking sites as compared to Americans

Online activityResearchers have found a clear difference between the social networking sites’ usage of the people living in America and people living in China.

This research has been published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

Researchers in this study surveyed more than 400 college-aged residents from the U.S. and China on their use of the social networking sites. In U.S., Facebook is the most popular social networking site and in China it is Ozone.

Researchers found that the people living in U.S. spend more time on the networking sites and consider them to be more important. They have more “friends” on the sites. On the other hand, people living in China are more inclined towards real-world relationships and less inclined towards the self promotion through online activities such as on Facebook and Twitter.

“In the United States, it’s all about promoting yourself and taking credit for positive outcomes and denying blame for negative outcomes,” Linda Jackson, MSU professor of psychology, said in a statement. “In China, it’s the opposite. If something bad happens, you take the blame and talk about how you can improve. If something good happens, the credit is shared for the good of the group.”

Researchers found that U.S. participants spend nearly double the time on social networking sites, i.e. about 52 minutes a day, while the Chinese participants spend nearly 28 minutes a day. Not only this but many of the Chinese participants (about 19%) also reported that they have never used the social networking sites while only 4% of the U.S. participants said that they have not used the social networking sites. Moreover, Chinese users are less likely to have many computers in a home.

Researchers are of the opinion that parents play a major role in this characterization. “Chinese parents may discourage or even forbid their children from using social networking sites,” as it may take them away from the schoolwork, Jackson said.

But Jackson said she doesn’t see it as an issue with access. “If Chinese students really wanted to go online more, they easily could, whether it’s at home or at school. It’s more of a motivation factor,” she said. “It becomes a question of what’s important in life. In China, it’s more important to sit down for a family dinner or concentrate on your homework or help your parents clean the house.”


Jackson, L., & Wang, J. (2013). Cultural differences in social networking site use: A comparative study of China and the United States Computers in Human Behavior, 29 (3), 910-921 DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.11.024

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5 thoughts on “Chinese people are less habitual of social networking sites as compared to Americans

  • Mallory

    It has been stated in my psychology book that Chinese school children tend to score above European American children on intelligence and achievement tests, especially in math. Is this because the people living in U.S. spend more time on the networking sites and consider them to be more important, or are Chinese children genetically more intelligent then European American children? Would European American children start to score higher on intelligence and achievement tests if there wasn’t any social networking sites? I feel like if all the social networking sites were band it would increase the scores on the tests. It would provide more motivation to do school work, eliminate the distraction of wanting to get online, and it might even increase real social relationships not just being “friends on Facebook”.

  • Well since they surveyed 400 students from both cultures to see which ones got on the internet often. why don’t they test it out by having a chines person come live here and send an american over to china. so we could find out if they both end up having high or low IQ scores.

  • This is a wonderful example on how place and culture affects IQ scores. In Japan and China they are perceived to spend more time in school and have more pressure from their parents. In the US it is seen much more casual school-wise and much easier to get into colleges. If the US had more of what Japan or China had, it would be much different overall in academics in America. Culture plays a large part on IQ. But if you had to judge happiness, I believe the US would win, because I think it is important for children to be socially active too, as well as a good advantage for whatever career they are going into, if it involves interacting with other people. Social networking is a norm in the US, whereas in China it may be seen as unnecessary or a distraction from schoolwork. I agree and disagree with Ms. Jackson’s statement about how in the US it’s about promoting yourself and blaming others, whereas in China it’s about improving yourself and taking the blame yet celebrating credit with others. I see how she is saying how the attribution of the US is primarily on a self-serving bias. Yet in China it is the opposite to where only internal factors motivate their academic life. But I believe in both cultures that they are always exceptions, some Chinese families may live more like Americans and take school easy and keep up with social networking, likewise some Americans live like Chinese and take school very seriously. Imagine if a Chinese student moved to the US, how would they view our culture, and would their IQ change, or would they start to adapt to our norms? Or vice-versa if an American student moved to China? Interesting study! Thanks for sharing.

  • furrytag

    it may be obvious you chose to survey the 400 students, but it does seem to make the most since. you could have also tried to do a naturalistic sort of study as well to see weather or not the students even went on to these sites (without them even knowing that this was what you word researching) for example, you could have 400 students write down all the web sites they go on for a curtain time period and then report the data back to you the researcher.

  • This is similar to a chapter in my Psychology book about why Chinese people are more advanced in education than the U.S. is. The cross-cultural perspective states that China has different values and norms than the U.S. does. For instance some Chinese parents even ban their children from going onto social networking sites such as facebook.


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