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Teens share a wide range of information about themselves on social media sites; 1 indeed the sites themselves are deed to encourage the sharing of information and the expansion of networks. However, few teens embrace a fully public approach to social media. Instead, they take an array of steps to restrict and prune their profiles, and their patterns of reputation management on social media vary greatly according to their gender and network size.
Teens are increasingly sharing personal information on social media sites, a trend that is likely driven by the evolution of the platforms teens use as well as changing norms around sharing. For the five different types of personal information that we measured in both and , each is ificantly more likely to be shared by teen social media users on the profile they use most often. In addition to the trend questions, we also asked five new questions about the profile teens use most often and found that among teen social media users:.
Generally speaking, older teen social media users ages , are more likely to share certain types of information on the profile they use most often when compared with younger teens ages While boys and girls generally share personal information on social media profiles at the same rates, cell phone s are a key exception. This is a difference that is driven by older boys. Beyond basic profile information, some teens choose to enable the automatic inclusion of location information when they post. Boys and girls and teens of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds are equally likely to say that they have set up their profile to include their location when they post.
Focus group data suggests that many teens find sharing their location unnecessary and unsafe, while others appreciate the opportunity to al their location to friends and parents. Twitter draws a far smaller crowd than Facebook for teens, but its use is rising. One in four online teens uses Twitter in some way.
Continuing a pattern established early in the life of Twitter, African-American teens who are internet users are more likely to use the site when compared with their white counterparts. While those with Facebook profiles most often choose private settings, Twitter users, by contrast, are much more likely to have a public . Overall, teens have far fewer followers on Twitter when compared with Facebook friends; the typical median teen Facebook user has friends, while the typical median teen Twitter user has 79 followers.
Girls and older teens tend to have substantially larger Facebook friend networks compared with boys and younger teens. Teens, like other Facebook users, have different kinds of people in their online social networks. And how teens construct that network has implications for who can see the material they share in those digital social spaces:.
Older teens are more likely than younger ones to have created broader friend networks on Facebook. Older teens who use Facebook are more likely than younger teens to be connected with:. In focus groups, many teens expressed waning enthusiasm for Facebook. The stress of needing to manage their reputation on Facebook also contributes to the lack of enthusiasm. 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.
Those teens who used sites like Twitter and Instagram reported feeling like they could better express themselves on these platforms, where they felt freed from the social expectations and constraints of Facebook. Some teens may migrate their activity and attention to other sites to escape the drama and pressures they find on Facebook, although most still remain active on Facebook as well. Teens have a variety of ways to make available or limit access to their personal information on social media sites. Among teen Facebook users, most choose private settings that allow only approved friends to view the content that they post.
Most teens express a high level of confidence in managing their Facebook privacy settings. Beyond general privacy settings, teen Facebook users have the option to place further limits on who can see the information and updates they post. Teens are cognizant of their online reputations, and take steps to curate the content and appearance of their social media presence. For many teens who were interviewed in focus groups for this report, Facebook was seen as an extension of offline interactions and the social negotiation and maneuvering inherent to teenage life.
Teen management of their profiles can take a variety of forms — we asked teen social media users about five specific activities that relate to the content they post and found that:. The practice of friending, unfriending, and blocking serve as privacy management techniques for controlling who sees what and when. Among teen social media users:. As a way of creating a different sort of privacy, many teen social media users will obscure some of their updates and posts, sharing inside jokes and other coded messages that only certain friends will understand:.
Teens who are somewhat or very concerned that some of the information they share on social network sites might be accessed by third parties like advertisers or businesses without their knowledge more frequently delete comments, untag themselves from photos or content, and deactivate or delete their entire . Teens with larger Facebook networks are more frequent users of social networking sites and tend to have a greater variety of people in their friend networks. They also share a wider range of information on their profile when compared with those who have a smaller of friends on the site.
Yet even as they share more information with a wider range of people, they are also more actively engaged in maintaining their online profile or persona. Almost all Facebook users regardless of network size are friends with their schoolmates and extended family members.
Teens with the largest networks more than friends are more likely to include a photo of themselves, their school name, their relationship status, and their cell phone on their profile when compared with teens who have a relatively small of friends in their network under friends. However, teens with large friend networks are also more active reputation managers on social media. A majority of teens report positive experiences online, such as making friends and feeling closer to another person, but some do encounter unwanted content and contact from others.
Exposure to inappropriate advertising online is one of the many risks that parents, youth advocates, and policy makers are concerned about. Yet, little has been known until now about how often teens encounter online that they feel are intended for more or less mature audiences.
It was conducted between July 26 and September 30, Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cell phones. The focus groups focused on privacy and digital media, with special emphasis on social media sites. Each focus group lasted 90 minutes, including a minute questionnaire completed prior to starting the interview, consisting of 20 multiple-choice questions and 1 open-ended response.
Although the research sample was not deed to constitute representative cross-sections of particular population s , the sample includes participants from diverse ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds. Participants ranged in age from 11 to The mean age of participants is In addition, two online focus groups of teenagers ages were conducted by the Pew Internet Project from June , to help inform the survey de. The first focus group was with 11 middle schoolers ages , and the second group was with nine high schoolers ages Each group was mixed gender, with some racial, socio-economic, and regional diversity.
The groups were conducted as an asynchronous threaded discussion over three days using an online platform and the participants were asked to log in twice per day. Throughout this report, this focus group material is highlighted in several ways. In addition, at several points, there are extensive excerpts boxed off as standalone text boxes that elaborate on a of important themes that emerged from the in-person focus groups conducted by the Berkman Center.
In times of uncertainty, good decisions demand good data. Please support our research with a financial contribution. Are you a Core Conservative? A Solid Liberal? Or somewhere in between? Take our quiz to find out which one of our Political Typology groups is your best match. Indians see religious tolerance as a central part of who they are as a nation. The U. Black population is growing. At the same time, how Black people self-identify is changing, with increasing shares considering themselves multiracial or Hispanic.
About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.
Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Newsletters Donate My . Research Topics. For the five different types of personal information that we measured in both and , each is ificantly more likely to be shared by teen social media users in our most recent survey. The typical median teen Facebook user has friends, while the typical teen Twitter user has 79 followers. On Facebook, increasing network size goes hand in hand with network variety, information sharing, and personal information management.
In broad measures of online experience, teens are considerably more likely to report positive experiences than negative ones. Teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they did in the past. Older teens are more likely than younger teens to share certain types of information, but boys and girls tend to post the same kind of content. African-American teens are substantially more likely to report using Twitter when compared with white youth.
Public s are the norm for teen Twitter users. Seven in ten say they are friends with their parents on Facebook. Older teens tend to be Facebook friends with a larger variety of people, while younger teens are less likely to friend certain groups, including those they have never met in person.
Focus group discussions with teens show that they have waning enthusiasm for Facebook. Users of sites other than Facebook express greater enthusiasm for their choice. Most keep their Facebook profile private. Girls are more likely than boys to restrict access to their profiles. Boys and girls report similar levels of confidence in managing the privacy controls on their Facebook profile. For most teen Facebook users, all friends and parents see the same information and updates on their profile. Unfriending and blocking are equally common among teens of all ages and across all socioeconomic groups.
Insights from our focus groups suggest that some teens may not have a good sense of whether the information they share on a social media site is being used by third parties. Teens who are concerned about third party access to their personal information are also more likely to engage in online reputation management. Teens with large Facebook friend networks are more frequent social media users and participate on a wider diversity of platforms in addition to Facebook.
Teens with larger Facebook networks tend to have more variety within those networks. Teens with large networks share a wider range of content, but are also more active in profile pruning and reputation management activities. Teens with larger friend networks are more likely than those with smaller networks to block other users, to delete people from their friend network entirely, to untag photos of themselves, or to delete comments others have made on their profile.
They are also substantially more likely to automatically include their location in updates and share inside jokes or coded messages with others. One in six online teens say they have been contacted online by someone they did not know in a way that made them feel scared or uncomfortable. Few internet-using teens have posted something online that caused problems for them or a family member, or got them in trouble at school.
More than half of internet-using teens have decided not to post content online over reputation concerns. Large s of youth have lied about their age in order to gain access to websites and online s. Close to one in three online teens say they have received online advertising that was clearly inappropriate for their age. Facts are more important than ever In times of uncertainty, good decisions demand good data.
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