Teen users see social platforms as having a largely positive impact on their lives and relationships, despite some negative elements that can have impacts for some people.
That’s according to the latest study from Pew Research, which looks at how teens are using social media platforms to connect, and how they view the pros and cons of social media communication in their day-to-day experiences.
“Eight-in-ten teens say that what they see on social media makes them feel more connected to what’s going on in their friends’ lives, while 71% say it makes them feel like they have a place where they can show their creative side.”
In addition to this, 67% of teen social media users say that social platforms ‘make them feel as if they have people who can support them through tough times’, which reflects the positive benefits of universal connection facilitated by social platforms.
That’s often a lesser discussed consideration, with more focus given to the negative impacts of social media usage. Which are also very real, and are a significant concern – but it’s interesting to note that, in the view of teen users specifically, there are major benefits to being able to stay in touch, and garner support and assistance, via social apps.
In terms of overall impact, more teens say that social media’s impact has been mostly positive (32%) than those that say that it’s been negative (9%), though the majority (59%) feel that social media has had neither a positive nor a negative effect on them.
In more specific analysis, teen girls were more likely to report feeling overwhelmed by social media-related drama, while girls were also more likely than boys to say that social media has made them feel worse about their lives.
“When asked how often they decide not to post on social media out of fear of it being using against them, older teen girls stand out. For example, half of 15- to 17-year-old girls say they often or sometimes decide not to post something on social media because they worry others might use it to embarrass them, compared with smaller shares of younger girls or boys.”
The data reflects the general consensus around the negative impacts of social media connection, and in particular, harmful comparisons for female users. Every social platform is working to address this, with Instagram and Twitter adding a range of new features and tools over the past year to help users better manage their time, and avoid negative experiences in their apps.
The report provides some interesting insight into teen social media usage, which could provide more perspective on how teens use social apps, and what benefits they glean from such connection.
Which is important to note. Younger users drive connective trends, and the ways in which teens use social apps is a big driver of overall adoption and behavior.