November 9, 2011

Teens on Facebook: mostly kind, but cruelty is still a problem

11-9-2011 National:

A new survey of the social networking habits of teenagers says that the majority have online experiences that help them feel good about themselves or make them feel closer to someone else on the network. 93 percent of teen social media users now have a Facebook account.

"Still, a substantial number of teens report specific negative outcomes from experiences on social network sites," warns Teens, Kindness, and Cruelty on Social Network Sites, produced by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the Family Online Safety Institute, and Cable in the Classroom.

That's putting it mildly. Among the study's findings:

Over one in five social-media-using teens (22 percent) have had an online experience "that ended their friendship with someone."

---A quarter of these teens (25 percent) "have had an experience on a social network site that resulted in a face-to-face argument or confrontation with someone."

---More than one in ten (13 percent) "have felt nervous about going to school the next day" after a social networking encounter. The same percentage had an experience "that caused a problem with their parents."

---Eight percent got into a physical altercation with someone else "because of something that happened on a social network site" and six percent got into trouble at school because of such an experience.
"A Facebook profile can be the site of a budding romance or the staging ground for conflict," the survey observes. "In the past, mediated interactions might have taken place via paper letter or set of wires and a phone between the conversing partners. Now, all internet users have access to a broader digital audience. And in this new environment, social norms of behavior and etiquette are still being formed."

For the remainder of this post: by Matthew Lasar

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