Are you or your friends addicted to social networking? Does social networking affect you and your friends?
A survey by SciJourner of 51 youth, ages 21 and under, finds that nearly a third say they are “addicted” to social networking, but only 8% of the teens and young adults surveyed feel that social networking affects their relationships with other people. The survey also showed that younger teens, ages 14 and 15, use the social networks Facebook and Bebo more than teens at the age of 17.
The survey was conducted by handing out questionnaires to Youth Exploring Science teens at the Saint Louis Science Center and to youth in the community, or posting as a wall on Facebook and Bebo.
Approximately equal number of males and female took the survey. Of those who responded, 37% are under 16. Most of the teens used Facebook, but 30% preferred Bebo and 20% were on both Bebo and Facebook.
How much time are teens spending on social networks? For this survey we defined addicted as checking their Facebook or Bebo page more than 3 times a day. Around a third of the 51 teens fell into that category, spending 30 minutes to 5 hours per day on social networking.
One interesting aspect of social networks is that they have a
spot where you can put if you are in a relationship—married, single etc. Teens in a really good relationship will say that they are “married”. “Complicated” means that you might be in a relationship, but it is not working that well.
Around 57% of the teens reported that they were in some kind of relationship. Why do so many of the teen’s relationship statuses say something other than single?
“Being married does not have anything to do with how many friends I have; I just network,” says Maurice M. Jr., age16. “If a girl wanted to add me that was attractive then I would add her, but that did not mean I have chat with her.” Does he fight with his “wife” on Facebook? “No. What my wife and I have going on it not for the public to know about,” says Maurice.
Do teens whose status is single look for relationships on social networks? Says Mark C., age 17, “No, I’m not really into that vibe, I want to find someone who I can ‘kick it’. I don’t want some random person on the Internet.” But he adds, “Sometimes, to my close friends, I do vent about being single on the computer, but not for the public to see.” Mark adds “Just because my status says single does not affect the amount of friends I have. “
“The only reason my relationship status is complicated is because one minute my boyfriend and I are arguing and the next we are happy,” states Niklya M., age 17. “When I put complicated I started to get a nice amount of boys that tried to add me, it was wired. But when we were in a relationship, I didn’t have that much friend requests.” She says that “This is not a permanent status, but for now I need [my boyfriend] to understand that we don’t have to be together.”
Most of the people surveyed say that social networks do not affect their relationships because they do not allow it. Others feel that because it’s a social network things are going to happen.
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