Most of those new friendships stay online-only, according to the study; only 20 percent of the teens surveyed say they ever met their online friend in person.
The study showed that teen-age friendships are both made and tested in social media environments.
Gaming is a high contributor, with 78% claiming that they feel more connected to all their friends while playing games, and 57% made a new online friend through gaming. Majority are increasingly anxious about the image they post online, their profiles and actually get to have dates on the Internet.
Six in 10 respondents, who have taken part in the poll, have confessed that they have made at least one friend on the Internet, whereas 29% of them have made more than five friends using the same means of communication.
A third of teenagers who meet people on the internet have also met up with a new online friend in person.
Eight out of ten teens taking part in the research said that Facebook and Instagram helped them to be more involved in their peers’ lives while a little under three quarters of respondents claimed social networks let them share their friends’ feelings.
“This does challenge some of the traditional zeitgeist we have around youth and media”, said Amanda Lenhart, associate director of research at the Pew Research Center and the lead author of the report. Indeed, while more than 55 percent said they text every day, a much smaller group (19 percent) said they call their friends on the phone daily.
Pew also found that texting and social media were woven into this fabric of the participants’ constant communications.
Teenagers these days are more tech-savvy than ever, so it’s no surprise that many are forging new friendships not in the schoolyard or neighborhood – but on the Internet.
The pressure remains on teens to create an improved version of themselves online, a person who might not precisely reflect reality, while others respond to this phenomenon by feeling worse about their own lives. And, a full 68 percent told researchers they’d used social media during hard times to receive support from friends and peers.
Additionally, they are more likely to block or unfriend people after a relationship breakup. Seventy-nine percent of all teens instant message their friends, with 27 percent saying they do so daily.
Meanwhile, as we all know, there are some down sides to social media, and for teens, these issues may be exacerbated. More than half (53%) of teen social media users have seen postings on social media about something to which they weren’t invited, while some teens feel pressure to post only content that makes them look good (40%) or that will be popular (39%).
The teens described using social media to communicate different things than they would during a phone call or text.