Technology as a Tool to Assist Teens Social Needs

During the 2015 Content in Context session on the differentiated classroom, the panelists emphasized the importance of focusing on students’ social-emotional needs as well as academics. Similarly, an increasing number of entrants in the PreK-12 Learning Group REVERE Awards focus on the development of the whole child. A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that social media, video games, and mobile technology play an essential developmental role in helping teens form, maintain, and navigate conflicts in friendships.

Key Takeaways

  • 57% of teenagers have met a new friend over the internet, with nearly three-in-ten teens (29%) saying they have made more than five friends this way. The majority (77%) have not met an online friend in person.
  • About two-thirds (64%) of teens who have met a friend online say they have met new friends via a social networking site. Many (70%) say that social media helps them stay more in touch with their friends feelings.
  • 68% of social-media-using teens say they have experienced drama among friends on the platform. In addition, some teens feel pressure to post only content that makes them look good (40%) or that will be popular (39%).
  • Roughly nine-in-ten teens (88%) spend time with their friends via text messaging at least occasionally, and 55% do so every day. Conversely, few stay in touch via video chat or email.
  • Roughly one-in-four teens have fought with a friend because of something that first happened online or because of a text message.
  • Video games play an important role in the development and maintenance of friendships – especially for teen boys. Roughly three-quarters (78%) of online gaming teens say they feel more connected to existing friends with whom they play games.

Read “Teens, Technology and Friendships.”  Lenhart, A., Smith, A.., Anderson, M., Duggan, M., Perrin, A., Pew Research Center, August, 2015.


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