Teens Still Bullish On Social Media

For all of its well-publicized faults, social media remains a valued asset by many U.S. teens.

That’s according to a new survey from Pew, which found that 81% of young folks -- ages 13 to 17 -- believe that social media makes them feel more connected to what’s going on in the lives of their friends and family.

In part, that might explain why 97% of U.S. teens report using at least one of the top social networks at their disposal.

For its survey, Pew presented teens with four pairs of words, and then asked them to choose the sentiment that most closely matched how they feel when using social media.

In each case, respondents were more likely to associate their social media activity with generally positive rather than negative feelings.

For example, a clear majority of teens indicated that social media makes them feel included rather than excluded (71% vs. 25%); confident rather than insecure (69% vs. 26%); authentic rather than fake (64% vs. 33%); and outgoing rather than reserved (61% vs. 34%).

Young respondents also said they felt that social media can help them become more civically minded, and expose them to greater diversity.

Specifically, roughly two-thirds of teens said social sites help people their age interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds (69%); find different points of view (67%); or show their support for causes or issues (66%).

Yet, teens certainly don’t think that social networks are perfect.

For example, a significant share of respondents (43%) said they feel pressure to only post content that makes them look good to others.

What’s more, 45% of teens said they feel overwhelmed by all the drama on social media, while 13% said they feel this way “a lot.”

Tellingly, creating too much “drama” was a big reason teens cited for unfriending and unfollowing other social media users.  

In total, 44% of teens said they often or sometimes unfriend or unfollow other users. Among those teens, 78% said they did so to distance themselves from drama kings and queens.

Also of note, nearly half (46%) of teens said they at least sometimes spend time in online groups or forums, and the types of forums they gravitate toward tend to vary by gender.

Boys are roughly twice as likely as girls to visit online groups centered around hobbies (54% compared to 29% of girls) or sports (36% compared to 19% of girls).

Next story loading loading..