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Nearly three-quarters (73%) of teens have access to a smartphone, and smartphone-using teens have different practices for communicating with close friends.
Teens with smartphones rely more heavily on texting, while teens without smartphones are more likely to say social media and phone calls are preferred modes for reaching their closest friend.
However, these best-friend interactions occur across a wide range of online and offline venues: Teens who live in lower-income households are more likely than higher-income teens to say they use social media to get in touch with their closest friend.
Lower-income teens, from households earning less than $30,000 annually, are nearly evenly split in how they get in touch with these friends, with 33% saying social media is the most common way they do so and 35% saying texting is their preferred communication method.
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.
Higher-income teens from families earning ,000 or more per year are most likely to report texting as their preferred mode when communicating with their closest friend.
Modestly lower levels of smartphone and basic phone use among lower-income teens may be driving some in this group to connect with their friends using platforms or methods accessible on desktop computers.
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