Black teens and social media; are they different than white teens? Research indicates that may be so. Teenagers love social media. Whether its Facebook, Instagram or any of the other social media sites black teen flock there to share their lives and interests with friends and family. But new study indicate that teenagers selection of social media websites is becoming a black or white choice.
The Pew Internet & American Life project report, “Teens, Social Media, and Privacy,” found that young people of all races and backgrounds are engaging in social-media activities in ever growing numbers. These teens are sharing more personal information on their digital profiles than ever before. But a breakdown of the data reveals some surprising trends.
For example, black teenagers are not as likely to reveal their real names on their social-media profiles. According to Pew 95% percent of white teens on social media use their real name whereas only 77% of black teens do this.
Jasmine Bullock said;“I’ve found this to be true.’ Bullock is the Coordinator for Youth Programs at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. “A lot of it has to do with image, and what they want people to perceive of them in social media.” Bullock also says students could be using fake identities to “cover things up” from parents, teachers and other authority figures who may be monitoring their activity on social-media.
When it comes to celebrity connections white teens are not as likely to be social friends with celebrities, athletes or musicians. While 48% of black teens using social media report celebrity friends only 25% of white teens do.
Najah Goldstein a freelance reporter for Radio states; “African-American youth are more connected to pop culture. Look at who they emulate—Beyoncé, Rihanna and others.” She explains that its “cool”, for black teens to have a celebrity “friend” or to have a celebrity re-tweet a message they’ve sent to them.
Twitter has become extremely popular among African-Amereicans and is the preferred social network for black teens. Compared to white teens 39% of African-American teens reported using Twitter compared to only 23% of white teens.
Goldstein attributes the popularity of Twitter among black teens teens to language. “With Twitter, they don’t have to say as much,” using only 140 characters to send a message or Tweet. Bullock believes it’s probably just an emerging preference among all teens who are up on the latest social media trends. “Who wants to be using the latest thing?” Focus groups conducted by Pew researchers show teens expressed “waning enthusiasm for Facebook.” Teens cited the increasing number of adults on the site and being “drained by the drama” occurring daily on the site. But these same teens admitted they felt the need to stay on Facebook in order not to “miss out.”
The study indicates that black teens maybe more deceptive on social media. Not only are they less likely to use their real name but African-American teens are also more likely to post false information to their profiles. Black teens admit posting false information 39% to white teens 21%.
Are black teens hiding things from parents and adults? The research indicates this may be happening. Both Bullock and Goldstein agree that teens want “to hide information about their activities from their mothers.” Bullock added that differences in social media website’s registration processes is a potential a factor: “They are just answering questions to get through being able to post pictures and posts.”
The Pew study uncovered some interesting racial preferences among teens using social media. Both Bullock and Goldstein told DiversityInc that it’s important for parents to monitor what their children are doing online. Social media continues to grow as a way to communicate directly with their children. As teens grow older,both black and white, what they post online can be potentially harmful to their aspirations. Social media is being monitored by universities, employers, and even banks and insurance companies. As a matter of fact there is a whole industry growing around social media. Companies are appearing that not only research social media but some claim to clean up bad social media information for a price.
Now you know.