It’s the age of technology and social media, and there’s a strong possibility that online friends trump real life friends for teens, keeping stronger contact through the internet. Teenagers are the majority users of any popular social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and it may be affecting their real life.
The, ironically, online study was conducted by Gfk Group on 1,060 teenagers from September 25th to October 9th back in 2014, and from February 10th to March 16th in 2015. The statistics were drawn up between genders and the teenagers were inquired about their opinions on social media, along with the consequences and expectations that rise with their online life.
Out of the group, 76% of teenagers are currently on social media, developing online friends in addition to their “real life” friends from school or other regularly visited locations in their life. A number of 57% have made online friends, but a majority of 77% admitted that they never actually met them in real life.
The problem could be issues as much in overloaded schedules due to many options offered these days to teens or simply through the online diversity of people. Any hobby or passion can be matched by a person one meets online while it might be difficult to find them in real life.
Gaming is a high contributor, with 78% claiming that they feel more connected to all their friends while playing games, and 57% made a new online friend through gaming. With the development of more multiplayer games over multiple platforms, it’s become a hotspot for teenagers to share their passions with one another.
However, social media is the double edged sword of the internet. On the plus side, 83% of teenagers have felt themselves more aware of their friends’ lives online, 70% claim to feel more connected to their feelings through to their posts and online confession, while 68% have received comfort in difficult times.
On the other hand, 40% of teenagers on social media feel the pressure to look good on their accounts, creating a different persona that might not be close to who they truly are. The unfortunate part is that 39% are keeping their eyes glued on the screen, waiting for the approval of others through comments or likes.
And 53% have found events that their friends were attending, but they haven’t been invited to, making them feel more secluded.
Most of the relationships formed online that eventually progress to offline meetings have been described as “friendship-related, nonsexual and formed between similar-aged youths and known to parents”, so there is comfort for parents to know that if their teenager does plan to meet an online friend, they’re likely to know about it.
The pressure remains on teens to create an improved version of themselves online, a person who might not precisely reflect reality, while others respond to this phenomenon by feeling worse about their own lives.
However, it should be remembered that comparing your life to that of another person’s according to their internet profile is similar to comparing their highlights with your bloopers reel.
Image source: thoughtcatalog.com