Today’s American teenagers are digital natives — connected to the Internet since youth. About 75% of 13 to 17-year-olds have personal social networking accounts. Since 2008, there has been a huge spike in teenage connectivity; only 59% of teens were on social media four years ago.
Despite seeing “racist, sexist and homophonic content” online, teenagers view social media networks positively. A national survey of 1,030 13-to-17-year-old individuals, conducted by Common Sense Media, reveals teenage perceptions of their digital lives.
More than 90% of teenagers are connected to the Internet. About 68% of teens regularly text, 51% visit Facebook and about 11% send or receive tweets every day. Many teens, 41%, admit they’re “addicted” to their devices.
Teens are aware of the dangers of excessive usage and the online potential of cruelty. However, most young adults say social media and technology positively affects their social and mental well-being. Social media helps teens communicate easily with friends. Surveyed teens also believe social networks help them to be more outgoing, confident and less depressed.
Surprisingly, a majority of survey participants say they prefer to chat face-to-face instead of text or tweet. One-third of teens actually desire time off from the Internet. Around 36% of teens who responded said they wish “they could go back to a time when there was no Facebook.”
Teens who feel the highest need to unplug aren’t connected to social networks or have had bad experiences online. A third of teens have encountered racist, sexist and homophobic content “often” online, according to Common Sense Media.