Majority of teens say social media platforms deepen connections and provide a support network when they need it. Smaller – though notable – shares acknowledge the drama and pressures that can come along with using social media. Teen girls report encountering some of these pressures at higher rates. according to a Pew Research Center survey of US teens ages 13 to 17.
“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. 67% say these platforms make them feel as if they have people who can support them through tough times.”
“A smaller share – though still a majority – say the same for feeling more accepted. These positive sentiments are expressed by teens across demographic groups.”
“When asked about the overall impact of social media on them personally, more teens say its effect has been mostly positive (32%) than say it has been mostly negative (9%).”
“The largest share describes its impact in neutral terms: 59% believe social media has had neither a positive nor a negative effect on them.”
For teens who view social media’s effect on them as mostly positive, many describe maintaining friendships, building connections, or accessing information as main reasons they feel this way.
However, 38% of teens say they feel overwhelmed by all the drama they see on social media. 31% say these platforms have made them feel like their friends are leaving them out of things or have felt pressure to post content that will get lots of likes or comments (29%). Another 23% say these platforms make them feel worse about their own life.
“Teen girls report encountering some of these pressures at higher rates. Some 45% of girls say they feel overwhelmed because of all the drama on social media, compared with 32% of boys. Girls are also more likely than boys to say social media has made them feel like their friends are leaving them out of things (37% vs. 24%) or worse about their own lives (28% vs. 18%).”
“When asked how often they decide not to post on social media out of fear of it being used 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.”
Some 22% believe their parents are extremely or very worried about them using social media, while another 27% say their parents are somewhat worried. However, many teens – 41% – say their parents are worried only a little or not at all. And 9% say they aren’t sure about the level of concern their parents have over their social media use.