Study: Teens Prefer Online Friendships

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  • August 11, 2015

There’s no denying that social media has made the world a much smaller place. Today, keeping in touch with friends and family on the other side of the planet is now even easier than ever. Relationships that may have resorted to just a phone call or email once in a while can now be maintained with minimum effort and contact kept regular – even if it’s just the odd ‘like’ or comment.

But now, perhaps rather surprisingly to many people, it’s online relationships that teenagers nowadays prefer to make and maintain.

According to a new Pew Research Centre study published last week, over half (57%) of the 1,060 teens surveyed had found at least one new friend online. A further 29% said they had made more than five new friends online.

However, a large proportion (77%) said they had never net these new friends in person and their relationships were solely Internet-based.

“We found the Internet is really a critical part of how teens make and sustain friendship,” said Amanda Lenhart, associate director of research at Pew. “It helps us unpack some adult assumptions – that they’re wasting time with these devices.”

And it’s social networks that are playing the biggest roles when it comes to cultivating these relationships, with 64% of respondents saying they met their new friends via a social media website.

The survey also found that it’s girls who are more likely to make new friends on social networks (78% vs. 52% of boys) while boys tend to make most of their new Internet friends playing online games.

With so many teens connecting with new people via social networks and maintaining these online friendships, does it not speak volumes about the potential engagement your business can achieve with its customers?

You can check out the full Pew Research Centre report here. It contains some fascinating statistics and provides some really valuable insights into the power of social media for forging and building relationships.

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