A new study revealed that the majority of 12- to 17-year-old teens say their peers are mostly kind to one another on social network sites.
The study, conducted by the Pew Research Center, looked at the specific ways in which teens used social network cites–like Facebook and Twitter–to determine whether teens are kind or cruel to one another online. Overall, 69% of teens said their peers were kind, while 20% said their peers were mean, and 11% said “it depends.”
Yet the findings were not all positive.
The study also found that almost all teens who access the Internet have witnessed meanness on social networks and that cyberbullying often translates to conflicts in teens’ social lives offline. Among social media users, 88% have seen someone be mean or cruel to another person on a social network site, and 15% said they had themselves been targeted by social media cyberbullying. In addition, 25% said an experience on a social network resulted in a face-to-face argument or confrontation with someone.
In PEW’s research interviews with students, for example, they recorded the following answers:
- MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRL: I read what they were talking about online, then I go offline and confront the person who was saying something to her.
- MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRL: …Like that’s how most people start fighting because that’s how most of the fights in my school happen – because of some Facebook stuff, because of something you post, or like because somebody didn’t like your pictures.
The study resonates at a time when 95% of teens aged 12- to 17 use the Internet, and 89% use social networks.
Here is a listing of other noteworthy findings from the Pew Study:
- 85% of social media-using adults reported that their experience was that people are mostly kind to one another, while 5% reported they see people behaving in mostly unkind ways
- 12- to 13-year-old girls have the most negative assessment of social networks– 1/3 or 33% say people are mostly unkind, compared with 9% of boys in the same age group
- Black teens using social networks are less likely to give positive assessments of social networks than white or Latino users. While 72% of white users and 78% of Latino users say people are generally kind on social networks, only 56% of black users say the same.