Why are teens so dependent on social media?

Through my previously posted survey I was able to ask questions to answers that would either accept or reject my hypothesis question regarding Facebook, and whether or not people use it to strengthen relationships with their peers. The answers to question one show that the majority (93.3%) of people who took this survey will add someone on Facebook before actually becoming friends with them. Perhaps they do so in an attempt to get closer to the person who they added, and plan on doing so by befriending them on Facebook, and chatting with them via Facebook chat. One participant wrote that “if [he/she wants] to get to know them better after first meeting them then [they would] send a friend request”. Doing so would allow them to strengthen their relationship with the person who they added, thus answering my research question.

Although question two was a distractor question, these answers make it clear to see that everyone who took this survey has had Facebook for a significantly large amount of time. This could imply that everyone who took the survey is well adjusted to using Facebook as a way to build relationships with people.

Question three was a very interesting question to pose, because I was unsure of what the outcomes might turn out like. Nearly half of the participants answered that they look the same online but it was interesting to note that the majority of participants (53.3%) answered B, believing that they look better online than in person. This could indicate that people go to great lengths to edit the photos they upload of themselves on Facebook in order to enhance their appearance. One could do so for many reasons such as out insecurity, or to attract more Facebook friends to their page. If a person has a highly “attractive” profile picture, it is more likely that a Facebook friend will be in contact with them. Whether that be through “liking” their photo, or trying to stimulate conversation with them, these reactions infer a want to get closer to the person.  Due to the fact that I did not pose a question relating to profile pictures and attractiveness in my survey, I created a quick secondary supplemental survey, just to back up this inquisition: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BXD92TP.

(Click picture to enlarge)

The results from this secondary survey showed that the majority of people would take some sort of action when they see someone who they find attractive on Facebook. Perhaps after receiving a “like” on a profile picture, it instils confidence in the person whose photo was “liked” to spark up a conversation with the person who “liked” their photo. All in all, it’s clear to see that people often put up pictures of themselves to attract others into talking to them, so as to get closer with them and build relationships.

The majority of participants felt as though it were easier to communicate with people over Facebook as opposed to in person because they feel more confidence online. Perhaps this is because Facebook provides an invisible wall of security: it allows you to ponder your responses prior to actually saying them (a luxury time that is not as long when speaking in person), allows you to use emoticons to express emotions, as well as allows one to say what they truly feel. Why is it easier to speak your mind online? Because it is less intimidating than face-to-face conversations. This correlates with the Impact of Technology on the Family Unit because through this survey we are able to see how far “conversations” have come through the years. Formerly, we would chat with one other face to face because we had no other means of communication, other than on the phone, or hand written letters. In more recent days, we can see how communication technology has evolved from telephones, to cell phones, to calls on computers (video calling is available on Facebook), to even having Facebook on available on your phone. Many families today often lack communication between themselves because family members are so preoccupied carrying conversations with their peers online as opposed to spending time with their families. As people strive to build conversations with their peers through media such as Facebook, relationships with families can often suffer.

Despite the fact that question five was a distractor question, many of the participants had never temporarily disabled their Facebook. This could imply that despite having commitments such as exams to study for, that would require focus and a lack of distractions (such as Facebook), people still keep their Facebook accounts active. Many Facebook users feel attached to the social network and are addicted to using it to remain in contact with their friends,  to solidify their relationships with them.

Question six was the question whose responses I was the most intrigued by. The question asked if anyone had ever “liked” a Facebook page even if they didn’t have any interest in the page. 60% of participants had answered yes. I was pleased to see that my estimates were correct. More than half of participants had answered yes, all of whom had added an additional explanation. One person answered that “the boy [he/she] had a crush on liked a certain band so [he/she] liked the page so [he/she] would have something in common”. I interpreted this answer to mean that the participant had “liked” the Facebook page, out of a desire to strengthen their relationship with their person of interest. Giving them a mutually “liked” Facebook page would give them a “common” topic of interest to discuss. This would strengthen their relationship, thus answering my research question.

Question 7 referred to whether or not participants had ever judged someone based off of their Facebook page. 14/15 participants admitted to doing so, confirming that people are concerned about how their Facebook pages appear to their friends. I believe that people censor what they post and say on Facebook, out of fear of judgement by their peers. In order to feel accepted by their peers they wouldn’t want to feel judged by them. Lack of judgement means a stronger relationship: what people often seek from their peers on Facebook. Through this survey I have been able to confirm my hypothesis that people use primarily use Facebook to strengthen their relationships with their peers, but it does not stop there. Facebook is only one form of social media, although undoubtedly the most prevalent. Teens can also use platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr etc, all for the same purpose: strengthening the relationships between them and their peers. 

 

Facebook Survey

 

I believe that teens are dependant on social media because not only does it expose them to the world, but it also helps strengthen the relationships between them and their peers. My Facebook assignment from a previous unit in the course directly answers the question of why I believe teens to be dependant on Facebook, as well as other forms of social media.

Survey Questions (Bold indicates distractor questions):

1.     When do you add someone on Facebook?

  1. After first meeting them?
  2. After meeting them a few times?
  3. Once you can solidly say that you’re “friends”
  4. Other

2.     How long have you had a Facebook account?

  1. Under a year
  2. Over 3 years
  3. Over 4 years
  4. Other

3.     Do you look the same in person as you do online?

  1. Yes, I look the same
  2. No, I look better online
  3. No, I look worse online

4.     Do you find it easier to talk to people on Facebook as opposed to in person?

  1. Yes, I’m more confident online
  2. No, conversations are easier to carry when they are in person
  3. Other (Please specify)

5.     Have you ever temporarily disabled your Facebook?

  1. Yes
  2. No

6.     Have you ever “liked” a Facebook page (say, of an artist, or band) that you don’t actually have any interest in?

  1. Yes (If you select this option, please explain in the box below)
  2. No

7.     Have you ever judged someone based off of his or her Facebook page?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Results:

My survey was completed by 15 particpants.

Survey link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FPFLMD6

Question (Bold indicates distractor questions) Answers
#1 –       6 participants  (40%) answered A

–       8 participants (53.3%) answered B

–       1 participant (6.7%) answered C

2 participants answered Other:

–       If I want to get to know them better even first meeting them then I’ll send a friend request”

–       Only if they add me”

#2 –       0 (0.0%) participants answered A

–       4 (26.7%) participants answered B

–       10 (66.7%) participants answered C

–       1 (6.7%) participant answered Other

#3 –       7 (46.7%) participants answered A

–       8 (53.3%) participants answered B

–       0 (0.0%) participants answered C

#4 –       10 participants (66.7%) answered A

–       3 participants  (20%) answered B

2 participants (13.3%) answered Other

–       “doesn’t matter..i talk to same on chat as I do in person”

–       “depends on the situtation”

#5 –       7 participants (46.7%) answered Yes

–       8 participants (53.3%) answered No

#6 –       6 participants (40%) answered No

9 participants (60%) answered Yes (because…)

–       all my friends were talking about this rap group so i liked it too..”

–       “A lot of my friends liked the band so I liked the page too to fit in…”

–       “the boy I had a crush on liked a certain band so I liked the page so we would have something in common”

–       “I felt pressure to like it too”

–       “to appear cooler”

–       “cuz I wanna have friends!!”

–       “i was bored”

–       “as a joke or someone liked it on my account”

#7 –       14 participants (93.3%) answered Yes

–       1 participant (6.7%) answered No