Pew Study Sheds Light on Teen Use of Social Media

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A new study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project reveals that more young people today are sharing personal information about themselves on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter than they were seven years ago.

According to the evaluation of more than 800 teenagers, approximately nine-out-of-10 social-media using teens have posted photographs of themselves online, which is up from about eight-out-of-10 teen users in 2006. Furthermore, half of social-media using teens reported posting their e-mail address in 2012 (up from about 30 percent in 2006) while social-networking teens today were found to be 10 times likelier to post their cell phone number online than in 2006.

Teen enthusiasm for the Web’s largest social media platform appears to be on the decline, the report found.

“They dislike the increasing number of adults on the site, get annoyed when their Facebook friends share inane details and are drained by the ‘drama’ they described as happening frequently on the site,” the study reads. “Nevertheless, the site is still where a large amount of socializing takes place, and teens feel they need to stay on Facebook in order to not miss out.”

Researchers also found that about 16 percent of social networking teens have their online posts automatically set to display the users’ location. Among teenaged Twitter users, about 64 percent of respondents said their tweets are available for the public to view, while approximately 12 percent of respondents did not know if their online postings were publicly accessible.

The study revealed that more social media-using teens report positive online experiences than negative ones, with one-third of respondents reporting that using social media helped them forge closer bonds with others.

Additionally, just 17 percent of teen users reported ever having received uncomfortable messages via social networking sites, while only 8 percent of online teens said they have ever posted something on a social media site which caused family turmoil or got them into trouble at school. Parental oversight of teens’ online profiles was also quite common, researchers found, with seven-out-of-10 users having “friended” their moms and dads on Facebook.