Survey: Most Teen Girls Think Social Networking Is Used to Amp Up ‘Coolness’
Does social networking make teenage girls too cool for school? A majority of 14- to 17-year-old girls in the United States think so.
Nearly three-fourths of teen girls believe their counterparts use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to make themselves appear “cooler than they really are,” according to a survey released by Girl Scouts of the USA. In fact, 41 percent of the girls surveyed confess this describes their own actions online.
Nonetheless, 92 percent of girls surveyed said they would give up all of their social networking friends if it meant keeping their best friends.
The nationwide survey, which questioned more than 1,000 girls, found that girls downplay several positive characteristics of themselves when they’re social networking. In person, girls say they come across as smart (82 percent), kind (76 percent) and a good influence (59 percent). Online, girls consider themselves fun (54 percent), funny (52 percent) and social (48 percent).
According to the survey, teen girls with low self-esteem are more likely to acknowledge their social networking images don’t match their in-person images (33 percent vs. 18 percent of girls with high self-esteem) and are more likely to claim the images they portray online are sexy (22 percent vs. 14 percent) and crazy (35 percent vs. 28 percent).
“Adults and teens alike need greater understanding about the ways girls represent themselves and communicate on social networking sites,” Kimberlee Salmond, senior researcher at the Girl Scout Research Institute, said in a news release.
“If girls are portraying themselves differently online than they are in person, this can impact their identity, sense of self and relationships.”
In other survey findings:
• 91 percent of girls use Facebook regularly.
• 68 percent of girls have had a negative experience on a social networking site, such as being bullied or being the subject of gossip.Continued on the next page