Facebook Increases Friendship Quality Among Boys
Social networking sites are extremely popular among tweens. However, little is known about the use of these sites by this young age group. In this study in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, researchers asked tweens about their use of social networking sites and feelings of fitting in with their main group of friends.
- Tweens use more than one social networking site (SNS) to contact their friends.
- Facebook is the most popular SNS among tweens (9-13 y/o).
- Boys who use SNSs feel more like they fit in with their main group of friends. This is not the case for girls.
- Boys can benefit from SNSs because they provide them with a rehearsal space to practice self-expression.
What is the effect of using social networking sites on tweens’ sense of fitting in with their friends?
443 tweens between the ages of 9 and 13 years (mean age: 11.83 years). 48.98% were boys.
North of England
Tweens filled out a questionnaire at school. They answered questions about their use of social networking sites and feelings of fitting in with their most important group of friends from school.
Facts and findings
- Boys who were active on SNSs felt more like they fit in with their main group of friends than those who were not active on SNSs.
- The more boys participated on SNSs, the more the felt like fitting in with their friends.
- No such effect was found for girls.
- An explanation for this finding is that tween boys find it more difficult to disclose themselves to their offline friends than tween girls. In this regard, boys can benefit from SNSs because they provide them with a rehearsal space to practice self-expression.
- Most tweens (60%) used at least one social networking site (SNS) to keep in touch with friends.
- Facebook was reported as the most popular SNS among tweens; 88% of the tweens had a Facebook-account.
- Older tweens used SNSs more frequently than younger tweens.
- Critical note: this study does not allow for any conclusions about cause (using social network sites) and effect (tweens sense of fitting in with their friends). The results only show that there is an association between using SNSs and stronger feelings of fitting in.