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Teens in study say social media makes them feel good

teenagers taking a selfie
A group of teenagers take a selfie in Times Square, New York CIty. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Despite rising concern in both Silicon Valley and beyond about screen time overload, a new Pew Research Center report shows a large majority of teenagers believe using social media is good for them.

Why it matters: A lot of research into the relationship between young people and social media has drawn negative conclusions: social media is anxiety-inducing, creates unrealistic body images, and promotes cyberbullying and ideological bubbles, BuzzFeed reports. But teens themselves apparently disagree.

Some 45% of teens say they're on the internet constantly, causing them to be the driving force of what apps and what sites are popular, per Pew. Some Millennials have built their own businesses out of social media as their generation matures.

By the numbers: In the report, 743 teens were surveyed about the benefits and negatives of social media use.

  • 81% of teens said social media makes them feel more connected to friends.
  • 71% said it helps them show their creative side.
  • 69% said it helps them make friends and with a more diverse group of people.
  • 68% feel like they have people who support them through tough times.
  • Still, 45% of teens said they feel overwhelmed by the drama on social media, with 13% saying they feel that way “a lot.”

One communication thing: As previously reported, face-to-face interaction and communication is becoming less preferred by teenagers, according to a survey of 13- to 17-year-olds by Common Sense Media.

  • Teens say they are aware of social media's inhibiting impact on in-person communication, and yet a majority say they hardly ever or never put their devices away when hanging out with friends.
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