Skip to main content

Survey of teens says social media lets them connect with friends and get support

Social media use has recently been shown to increase depression and anxiety, but a new survey of teenagers points out the ways that such sites can be beneficial too. The Pew Research Center has conducted a survey of U.S. teens asking them about their experiences with social media both positive and negative, and the findings show that youngsters are well aware of the benefits and problems of social media use.

The survey was conducted earlier this year among 743 teens aged 13 to 17, so it’s a fairly small sample size. However, the data gathered is pretty in-depth, so it provides some interesting food for thought.

Related Videos

The biggest positive of social media use that teens identified was feeling more connected to their friends, which 81 percent of respondents said helped them. In addition, teenagers valued social media for the ability to interact with different people and as a venue to get support when they were struggling, with 69 percent of respondents saying they think social media helps them interact with a more diverse group of people, and 68 percent saying they feel as if they have people supporting them in tough times.

But teens weren’t ignorant of the problems of social media use like navigating online drama, the pressure to appear a certain way to others, and the pressure to be “successful” on social media by garnering lots of likes and comments. Of those surveyed, 45 percent of teens say they feel overwhelmed by all the drama on social media, 43 percent say they feel pressure to only post content that makes them look good, and 37 percent say they feel pressure to only post content that will get likes and comments.

Other findings were that the teenagers believed that social media helped them to become more civically minded, and that it helped them to find new points of view to engage with. Overall, the teens associated social media use more with positive emotions than negative ones.

One important thing to note is that surveys are not necessarily the best way to gather objective data on an issue. Surveys ask respondents what they think, for example asking if teens feel insecure when they look at social media, but they do not actually measure whether insecurity goes up when exposed to a social media environment. This means that you are relying on survey respondents to have considerable self-insight when answering questions, and trusting that they are answering honestly. However, the results of this particular survey do show a balance of positive and negative responses to social media, suggesting that the teens are self-aware about how social media affects their lives, and that they do think critically about this issue.

Editors' Recommendations

Elon Musk says Twitter will launch pricier Blue tier free of ads
A digital image of Elon Musk in front of a stylized background with the Twitter logo repeating.

Elon Musk said on Sunday that Twitter is planning to offer a higher-priced Blue subscription that will have zero ads.

Musk, who acquired Twitter in October 2022 in a deal worth $44 billion, didn’t say how much the new tier will cost, nor when it will launch.

Read more
Trump allowed to return to Facebook and Instagram
Trump stylized image

Meta is ending its suspension of Donald Trump on Facebook and Instagram, allowing the former president to start posting again as he eyes a return to the White House via the 2024 election.

Trump was suspended indefinitely from the social media sites shortly after the riots at the Capitol in January 2021.

Read more
Twitter will soon be a bit less irritating for many people
Twitter logo in white stacked on top of a blue stylized background with the Twitter logo repeating in shades of blue.

With or without Elon Musk at the helm, Twitter can’t seem to decide what it wants to do with its algorithmic timeline, currently branded as “for you,” which shows tweets it thinks you'll like, whether or not you follow the tweeter.

For years it’s been messing about not only with the algorithm but also with the extent to which it forces the timeline on users.

Read more