Science just told us what goes on in teens’ brains when they post on social media

As PR Newswire reports, a new study was just published that has a lot to say about how teens use social media. Entitled Digital Families 2015: Evolving Attitudes Around Social Media and App Use, the study tells us, among other things, what goes on in teens’ brains when they post online.

According to the study, 45% of teens’ social media posts are motivated by a certain person (including a significant other or crush) seeing the post, 43% of posts are based on how they think the post will help them be perceived (i.e. being seen as cute, funny, sexy, etc), 40% of posts are based on how many likes or comments they think they’ll receive, and 39% of posts are based on whether or not the post itself is deemed appropriate (of course, one post can have multiple aims, because clearly those percentages add up to WAY more than 100%).

Also interesting (but not surprising): 33% of teens will check back in on a post to see if comments were made within minutes and 1/3 of teens are disappointed if they don’t see likes and comments appear in a timely manner.

For all the variables that go into posting, the study says that teens don’t tend to take a lot of time when it come to getting their feelings out there. A reported 8 out of 10 US teens post to social media without a second thought.

And what about the things those teens AREN’T posting? According to the study, 9% of US teens are afraid to talk about how they feel about themselves on social media, a comparable 10% of UK teens feel the same way, and 15% of Irish teens feel self-conscious re: talking about how they look online.

Also, of note, as big a deal as repping yourself on social media is to teens, more than half of teens agree that being anonymous online allows them to share new ideas without having to worry about repercussions, and a little under half of teens say that it enables them to express their true feelings.

And when it comes to parental units? 52% of parents worry about social media being a distraction for teens, but more than 43% of parents are not tracking their teens time online.  88% of parents say they are aware of most social networks/apps, but almost half of parents have never used popular-with-the-teen-set apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Also of note- only 10% of parents say their children have experienced cyberbullying while 38% say their kids have been bullied IRL.

And on the topic of cyberbullying, teens are having NONE of it. 74% of teens say they’d step in if they saw someone bullied, 52% of teens have blocked someone on social, and 95% of teens believe social media platforms should have and enforce consequences for online bullying.

A lot of good information to have going forward. Also, way to go teens for taking a stand against cyberbullying!


New study reveals what teens are REALLY using the internet for

There’s a divide for teens without smartphones, and we have to fix it

Image via ABC Family

Filed Under