Many Teens Take Great Care in Posting Online Content

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on PsychCentral.

A new study finds that many teens, particularly girls, may go to great lengths to create a favorable online image. That may include posting only carefully selected photos, choosing to share activities that make them appear well-liked and even going as far as to ask friends to like and comment on their posts.

So what may appear as a fun and effortless way to share content may actually be quite painstaking and tedious.

“Teenagers aren’t just posting carelessly; they’re surprisingly thoughtful about what they choose to reveal on social media,” said lead author Joanna Yau, a Ph.D. candidate in education at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). “Peer approval is important during adolescence, especially in early adolescence, so they’re sharing content that they think others will find impressive.”

In fact, the researchers found that the primary social media goal of most teens is to post content that makes them appear interesting, well-liked and attractive.

In contrast to real life scenarios, social media platforms, such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram, allow individuals time to craft and edit posts and even strategize about how they want to present themselves online. This is quite possible because many online “friends” are those we know in person but aren’t necessarily close to, such as classmates.

Yau and study co-author Dr. Stephanie Reich, UCI associate professor of education, found that for girls, the effort to construct a favorable image can involve lengthy deliberation and advice from confidantes. The process of posting pictures is particularly time-consuming and can be a joint endeavor among friends, ensuring that only the most flattering photos, filters and captions are chosen.

Girls also actively enlist their friends to comment on and like their posts in an attempt to boost their popularity index, with especially savvy users choosing to post during peak social media traffic hours in order to maximize their number of likes. Boys in the study did not ask pals for feedback or to like their posts.

The research included 51 Southern California adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 (27 females and 24 males). The study involved 10 focus groups consisting of three to eight teens each, based on proximity, grade level and gender. At each grade level, there were female, male, and mixed-gender groups, with no adults known to the participants present.

Source: PsychCentral

Back to Top
[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Jim has over 30 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

  • About Azusa Pacific University

    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)