Teenagers are identified as heavy users of social media as they go online more than any other demographic group. What is interesting here is the way teenagers are presented on Social Media and what sides of them are shown. Making a good impression by following a specific model is motivated by their desire not to be excluded.
Facebook is the most popular social network site (Lenhart et al., 2011), while female users seem to be more than male. The same goes for bloggers: more female than male. So, what can be regarded as boys’ favorite activities? Boys are more likely to visit You Tube or play computer games, but unlikely to create their own videos and share those like girls do.
Communicating with others is only one aspect of how Social Media work. Teenagers are often subjected to peer pressure as long as self-presentation is concerned. In order for a cool profile to be created, the most appropriate photo should be chosen, while sharing links or pictures and status updates should be liked by friends or followers. Otherwise they are not successful!
The effort put into being liked offers enough explanation about the fact that many teenagers choose to create manipulated profiles. Number of friends (Ellison et al, 2007) or lists of interests (Liu, 2007) are often used so that impressions are created. So what is uploaded is primarily chosen with care. Special attention is paid to photos selected for profiles (Salimkhan et al, 2010). Girls normally choose photos in which they appear to be seductive and sexually available, while boys’ photo choices are more varied, although they usually try to look strong and dominant. From the above it could easily be concluded that gender stereotypes are excessively reproduced.
Exposing oneself to Social Media in combination with the content of pictures uploaded raises privacy issues. Consequently, users are given the option to adjust privacy settings so that access to their profiles is limited. Profile visibility restriction is applied mainly by girls and less by boys (Lenhart et al, 2011).
On the other hand, no setting has been invented for protecting someone from oversharing and exposing private information to Social Media. Nevertheless, no one can be protected by untruthful posted information as well. Experimentation is not always harmless not only for those who try it but also for those who are subjected to it.
-By Giota Gkika
Herring, S. C., & Kapidzic, S. (2015). Teens, Gender, and Self-Presentation in Social Media. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 146-152. doi:10.1016/b978-0-08-097086-8.64108-9
Lenhart, A., Madden, M., Smith, A., & Macgill, A. (2007, December 18). Teens and Social Media. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2007/12/19/teens
Ramasubbu, S. (2015, May 26). huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/suren-ramasubbu/influence-of-social-media-on-teenagers_b_7427740.html