Teens Viewpoint on Digital Lives

Nine out of ten 13- to 17-year-olds have used some form of social media. Three out of four teenagers currently have a profile on a social networking site, and one in five has a current Twitter account. 68% of all teens say Facebook is their main social networking site, compared to 6% for Twitter, 1% for GooglePlus, and 1% for MySpace.

For the vast majority of teens, social and other digital com­munications media are a daily part of life. 68% of teens text every day, 51% visit social networking sites daily, and 11% send or receive tweets at least once every day. In fact, 34% of teens visit their main social networking site several times a day. 23% of teens is a “heavy” social media user, meaning they use at least two different types of social media each and every day.

Use of Social and Digital Communications (13- to 17-year-olds)

Among All

Percent Who Have Ever

Used any social media

90%

Texted

87%

Visited a social networking site

83%

Used email

77%

IM’d

63%

Used a video chat

59%

Text chatted in an online game

45%

Visited a virtual world

35%

Headset chatted in an online game2

9%

Written/commented on a blog

28%

Used Twitter

27%

Source: Common Sense Study, July 2012 N.B. Social media includes social networking, Twitter, blogs, and chatting in online games or virtual worlds

 

Daily Use of Social and Digital Communications Media (Among all 13- to 17 year-olds)

Activity

% Who Engage At Least Once A Day

Text

68%

Visit a social networking site

51%

Use email

30%

IM

19%

Text chat in an online game

12%

Headset chat in an online game

11%

Use Twitter

11%

Video chat

8%

Write/comment on a blog

6%

Visit a virtual world

5%

Source: Common Sense Study, July 2012

More than one in four teens say that using their social networking site makes them feel less shy and more outgoing; one in five says it makes them feel more confident, more popular, and more sympathetic to others; and 15% say it makes them feel better about themselves. By comparison, only 5% say social networking makes them feel less outgoing; 4% feel worse about them­selves, less confident, and less popular after using their social networking site; and 3% feel shyer.

In particular, teens think that using social media has helped their relationships. Half of all teen social media users say using such media has mainly helped their relationships with friends, compared to just 4% who say social media use has mainly hurt their relationships. Similarly, more than a third say social media use has mainly helped their relationships with family members, compared to 2% who say it has mainly hurt them. A majority of teens say social media help them keep in touch with friends they can’t see regularly, get to know other students at their school better, and connect with new people who share a common interest.

Perceived Effect of Social Networking on Social and Emotional Well-Being (13- to 17-year-olds with a social networking profile)

Makes Them Feel:

More

 Less

Confident

20%

4%

Depressed

5%

10%

Outgoing

8%

5%

Popular

9%

4%

Shy

3%

29%

Sympathetic to others

19%

7%

Better about themselves

15%

4%

Source: Common Sense Study, July 2012

 

Impact of Social Networking on Relationships (13- to 17-year-olds with a social networking site)

Relationship

Mainly helped

Mainly Hurt

Friends

52%

4%

Family members (other than parents)

37%

2%

Parents

8%

7%

Teachers

6%

2%

Source: Common Sense Study, July 2012

Despite being avid social media users, about half of all teens say their favorite way to communicate with their friends is in person. Texting is the next favorite, with social networking, talking on the phone, and Twitter far behind.

Some teens think there is a trade-off between social media use and face-to-face communication. A third of teens agree either strongly or somewhat that using social media takes away from time they could be spending with people face-to-face, and 44% agree at least “somewhat” that using social media often distracts them from the people they’re with when they do get together in person.

Social media use does affect how some teens interact with one another. Nearly a third of social media users say they’ve flirted with someone online that they wouldn’t have flirted with in person, and a fourth say they’ve said something bad about someone online that they wouldn’t have said in person.

Favorite Way to Communicate with Friends (Among all 13- to 17-year-olds)

Favorite Way To Communicate With Friends

% of Respondents

In person

49%

Through texting

33%

Through a social networking site

7%

On the phone

4%

In an online game

3%

Through video chat

2%

IM

1%

Email

1%

Twitter

1%

Source: Common Sense Study, July 2012

 

Why Face-to-Face Communication Is Preferred

Main Reason Preferred

% of Respondents

More fun

38%

Can understand what people mean better

29%

More comfortable talking about personal things

9%

Can talk more seriously

6%

It’s the easiest

5%

It’s more private

3%

It’s less awkward

2%

It’s the quickest

2%

Gives me time to think how to respond

1%

Source: Common Sense Study, July 2012

Many teens recognize that they and their friends and family are increasingly tethered to their electronic gadgets, and a substantial number express a desire to disconnect sometimes. 43% of teens agree strongly or somewhat that they sometimes wish they could “unplug.”

25% of teens who aren’t currently using a social networking site strongly agree that they sometimes wish they could go back to a time when there was no Facebook, and a total of 54% agree at least somewhat. By comparison, among teens who are currently using a social networking site, just 8% strongly agree, and a total of 31% agree at least somewhat.

Interestingly, the report says that 45% of teens say they sometimes get frustrated with their friends for texting, surfing the Internet, or checking their social networking sites while they’re hanging out together.

For more information from Common Sense, and access to the complete report in PDF format, please visit here.

 

 

 

 

 

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