Which Platforms Do Teens Use to Make Friends?

Instant messaging is the top way teens stay in touch with their friends, with social networks coming in a close second.

Instant messaging is the top way teens stay in touch with their friends, with social networks coming in a close second, according to the latest study by Pew Research Center.

Pew surveyed 1,060 teens aged 13 through 17, and it found that they interact with their friends via the following platforms:

  • Instant messaging: 79 percent, with 27 percent doing so daily.
  • Social media: 72 percent, with 23 percent doing so daily.
  • Email: 64 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
  • Video chat: 59 percent, 7 percent.
  • Video games: 52 percent, 13 percent.
  • Messaging applications: 42 percent, 14 percent.

Other findings by Pew included:

  • 57 percent of teens have made friends online, with 29 percent saying they have made more than five.
  • However, only 20 percent of online teens have met online friends in-person.
  • Boys (61 percent) are more likely to make online friends than girls (52 percent).
  • Girls more commonly meet friends on social media than boys (78 percent versus 52 percent), while the reverse is true for online gaming (57 percent for boys, 13 percent for girls). 34 percent of teen boys have made friends while playing video games.
  • 62 percent of teens share their social media user names when they meet new friends.
  • 83 percent say social media makes them feel more connected to information about their friends’ lives.
  • 68 percent have received support via social media platforms during tough or challenging times.
  • 88 percent believe people share too much information about themselves on social networks.
  • 42 percent have had someone post things about them on social media that they cannot change or control.
  • 21 percent feel worse about their own lives due to what they see from friends on social media.
  • 40 percent feel pressure to only post content that makes them look good to others, while 39 percent said the same for content that will be popular and get many comments and likes.
  • 58 percent of social media or cell phone users have unfriended or unfollowed former friends (63 percent of girls, 53 percent of boys), and 45 percent have blocked them (53 percent of girls, 37 percent of boys).

Pew Research Center associate director for research Amanda Lenhart, lead author on the report, said in a release revealing its results:

Teens still spend substantial amounts of time with friends in-person, especially at school. But mobile phones, social media and, for boys, online video gaming have become deeply enmeshed in creating and maintaining teen friendships. In many instances, these technologies make teens feel closer and more connected to their friends.

Readers: Did any of Pew’s findings surprise you?

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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