Social media plays an important role in the life of majority of teens; it is not surprising that these platforms virtually act as a place where they establish friendships and develop peer relationships. Apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are venues for interaction and conversation among youth.
Almost 76% of all teens are on social media. While Facebook remains the most dominant platform, with 71% of all teens using it, of late Instagram and Snapchat are also becoming increasingly important, with 52% of teens on Instagram and 41% on Snapchat. Besides, these widely popular social channels, even new platforms like Connectd India is finding lots of acceptance among teens.
Social media has a pivotal role in connecting teens to new friends, allowing them to learn more about their new friends. Around 64% of teens who made new friends online agree they have met them through a social media platform. And 62% of teens accepted they’ve shared their username with a new friend to stay in touch.
Besides finding new friends, social media also help teens interact regularly with their existing friends. As many as 94% teens acknowledge spending time with friends on social media, while 30% spend time with their friends on every day, and another 37% say they do it few times a week. When they were asked to rank the ways they communicate with friends, social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram were found to be preferred platforms.
Teens mostly agree that social media makes them feel better emotionally connected to their friends and it also provides more news about what is going on in their friends’ lives. Around 83% of teens using social media accepted that such channels make them more connected and aware of what is happening in their friends’ lives. Girls (40%) are more likely than boys (26%) to say they are better connected to news related to their friends’ lives thanks to social media.
While teens irrespective of their races and ethnicities are equally likely to feel better connected to news about what’s going on in their friends’ lives through social media, black youth are more likely to say they feel more connected. Also, Hispanic teens are again more likely than whites to say they feel better emotionally connectd to friends’ through social media.
Interestingly, teens that have access to smartphones, and use social media are more likely to report they feel far more connected to what’s happening in their friends’ lives than those without a smartphone. While, both groups agreed they feel better connected to friends through their social media use, 36% of those owning smartphone said they feel far more connected to friends, and 25% of teens without smartphone reportedly have same degree of connectedness.
Teens like the fact that social media connects them to more people. They think it’s possible to talk to people a lot more often, because they are not supposed to see them in person. As many as nine-in-ten teens believe people overshare on these platforms. Despite, teens often feeling better connected to their friends emotionally; they also agree that they are sometimes too much connected to their friends’ lives. Almost 88% of teens on social media agree that people share too much information about themselves, with 35% teens feeling very strongly. These data were true irrespective of which social media platforms teens use.