Girls Dominate The Social Networking World

    January 8, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The growth in membership and usage of social networking sites has been driven by teens, and older teenage girls figure prominently in driving their rise.

Girls Dominate The Social Networking World
Girls Dominate The Social Networking World

Boys and girls tend to use the Myspaces and other social networking sites a little differently. The Pew Internet & American Life project surveyed a number of teens nationally, and found that when it comes to visiting Facebook, MySpace, or any one of a number of their competitors, girls have been the more social gender.

“For girls, social networking sites are primarily places to reinforce pre-existing friendships; for boys, the networks also provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends,” Pew researchers Amanda Lenhart and Mary Madden said in their report.

Although 55 percent of the teens surveyed said they had used social networking sites, the teens aren’t as clueless about online threats as some adults believe. Two-thirds of the teens who have created profiles have used privacy controls to limit access to them.

That is an encouraging finding, considering how criminals who look to exploit young people do exist. A fairly regular media drumbeat about the problem coupled with a number of negative events precipitated by contact through social networking may have helped here, but the younger generation usually tends to be smarter than the older generation gives it credit for sometimes, too.

(As Dilbert creator Scott Adams sometimes says in his blog, BOCTAOE. He probably means certain cinematic masterpieces as one example.)

For teens in the survey, social networking extends the ability to keep in touch with the people they see every day. The overwhelming majority, 91 percent, do so, while 82 percent use sites to keep up with friends they rarely see in person.

The relative boldness of teen boys carries over to social networking. Those aged 15-17 proved more likely to befriend new people, with 60 percent of them willing to do so. About 46 percent of girls the same age showed similar willingness.

By the survey, household economies don’t seem to affect who does and doesn’t social network among teens. 55 percent of teens in households with income of less that $50,000 created profiles, while 56 percent of those in homes with income of $50,000 or more did the same.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.