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Most of these friendships stay in the digital space; only 20% of all teens have met an online friend in person.
The most common spots for meeting friends online are social media sites like Facebook or Instagram (64% of teens who have made a friend online met someone via social media), followed by playing networked video games (36%).
All this playing, hanging out and talking while playing games leads many teens to feel closer to friends.
But even as social media connects teens to friends’ feelings and experiences, the sharing that occurs on these platforms can have negative consequences. Teens can learn about events and activities to which they weren’t invited, and the highly curated lives of teens’ social media connections can lead them to make negative comparisons with their own lives: Teens face challenges trying to construct an appropriate and authentic online persona for multiple audiences, including adults and peers.
For many teens, texting is the dominant way that they communicate on a day-to-day basis with their friends.
Some 88% of teens text their friends at least occasionally, and fully 55% do so daily.
They also play online with others who are not friends (52%).
With so much game-playing with other people, video gameplay, particularly over online networks, is an important activity through which boys form and maintain friendships with others: Much more than for girls, boys use video games as a way to spend time and engage in day-to-day interactions with their peers and friends.
Girls who have met new friends online are more likely to meet them via social media (78% vs.
52% of boys), while boys are substantially more likely to meet new friends while playing games online (57% vs. The vast majority of teens (95%) spend time with their friends outside of school, in person, at least occasionally.
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