Nine out of 10 teenagers in America have used social media, and the majority of them perceive it to be a more positive than negative influence in their lives. But in spite of their widespread use of today’s technology, teens prefer talking in person over texting, tweeting, or connecting on Facebook, and many describe themselves as “addicted” to their digital devices.
Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives, a new report from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media, provides the latest insights on teens’ use of media and technology and how they think it affects their relationships and feelings about themselves. The survey of more than 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds reveals that most teens think that social media has had a more positive than negative effect on their social and emotional well-being. Key findings include:
90% of teens have used some form of social media; 75% have a social networking site, and more than half (51%) of all teens check their social networking site at least once a day.
52% of all teens who use social media say that it has mainly helped their friendships, while only 4% say it has mainly hurt their friendships.
29% of social network users believe that social networking makes them feel more outgoing (compared to 5% who say less); 20% say it makes them feel more confident (4% say less); 15% say it makes them feel better about themselves (4% say worse); and 10% say it makes them feel less depressed (vs. 5% who say more).
Despite all this, 43% of teens express a desire to disconnect sometimes, 41% say they are “addicted” to their mobile devices, and 36% say they sometimes wish they could go back to a time when there was no Facebook.
For analysis and full results of Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives, as well as more information about Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media, visit www.commonsense.org/research. To download an infographic with highlights from the study, visit www.commonsense.org/teen-social-media-infographic.