The Pew Research Center examined the role technology plays in teens’ social lives in its new report titled “Teens, Technology and Friendships.” Researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,060 teens between the ages 13-17 online from September-October 2014 and February-March 2015, and conducted 16 online and in-person focus groups in April 2014 and November 2014. Unsurprisingly, researchers found that technology heavily influences how teens make and maintain friendships. According to the findings, 55% of teens spend time with their closest friend online.
What is surprising is the difference in how males and females use technology for friendship. For example, males are more likely than females to make online friends: 61% of boys as compared to 52% of girls. When it comes to maintaining friendships, females are more reliant on text messaging to stay connected with friends and males are more reliant on gameplay.
Being familiar with how teens are using social media is the first step to keeping them safe and teaching them how to be responsible online. Read the Pew Research Center’s report in its entirety here.