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Research shows 49% of teens and adults log on to social media to communicate every day

Social media apps on a phone

Today, the general opinion about social media is that it poses a threat to our mental health considering that it keeps us in a constant loop where we are stuck comparing ourselves and scrolling through our social media feeds endlessly.

However, research by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, presented interesting findings that suggested that individuals are happy to use social media in their daily lives.

More specifically, two-thirds of young adults and teens, who participated in the research, feel extremely or very happy when using social media to contact their friends and family.

The NORC initiative aimed to fill the gaps in research revolving around the impact of social media on “real” interpersonal relationships of individuals, especially, young teens and adults.

Hence, the research sample included 2,208 panel members with ages 13 to 40. The respondents were initially gathered through surveys and then contacted through calls via landline or cell phones.

So to gather data, online and telephone interviews were used that were conducted from October 27 to November 10, 2023.

Key findings the research shed light on included that 80% of teens and young adults felt online communications helped them stay connected to their friends and family. However, that's not to say that the respondents did not feel the negative effects of social media.

The research reported that more than half the participants reported feelings of being overwhelmed, over a third of them reported the pressure of getting engagement (such as likes, comments, etc.) on their social media posts, and 45% felt that they needed to post content only when it made them look good in front of others.

The research was commissioned by Snap Inc., so it looked into the role of Snapchat regarding the topic. The results mentioned that 69% of Snapchat users felt that they had an outlet for creativity and reported higher satisfaction in terms of their interpersonal relationships.

Other highlights include:

  1. 62% of respondents said that features that bring them into communication with their family and close friends, such as direct messaging, make them happy
  2. fewer respondents feel happy scrolling through their feed (38%), looking at content produced by celebrities or influencers (30%), or following the news through their timeline or feed (25%).
  3. About 9 in 10 13- to 40-year-olds interact at least weekly with friends and family members both in person and through online communications platforms such as social media or messaging apps
  4. About 49% of 13-40-year-olds use online communication platforms such as messaging apps or social media to connect every day.
  5. Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) of the participants say that social media makes them feel more connected to their communities
  6. 2 in 3 (65%) say they have found a community they would not have found otherwise offline
  7. 3 in 5 (63%) feel that social media provides them support when they are going through tough times

If you're interested in reading more about the research, you can check the official website of NORC. More infographics and specific questions asked in the polls and interviews can be found in this document (PDF file).

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