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This section contains information on all aspects of teen social life: friends, gossip, communication, bullying, peer pressure, social networks, and the like. Adolescents face a daunting task. Puberty brings with it a switch from parents to peers in the need for acceptance. This brings social issues to the forefront of just about everything in their life, and it’s important that parents keep pace. With that in mind, here are some glimpses into the social life of a teen:

Facts & statistics on teen social life

Only 12% of teens score high on the Relationships and Opportunities Index, a scale that tracks access and involvement in high-quality community opportunities, having others around them help them nurture their talents and interests, and being valued and treated fairly by people in their community. (Benson et al., 2009) Those who do score high are much more likely to have positive life outcomes, to express a sense of hopeful purpose, be actively engaged in school, and to express caring values themselves.

FACT: Those girls who have strong support from other girls or young women are most likely to flourish after high school. (PBS, 12-30-09)

Teen social life & bullying

A recent study prepared for the American Psychological Association found that 80% of middle school students admitted to bullying behavior in the prior 30 days. (Turley, 7-15-08) An earlier 2004 survey by KidsHealth found that among younger children ages 9 to 13, 40% of kids admitted to bullying. So who are these bullies? Chances are 80% or greater it’s your child. This means that stopping harassment in schools starts with making sure your own child never engages in it. If 80% of parents did that, bullying in schools would come to a near halt.

Statistics on teen friendships

85% of teens say that they are happy with their friendships, and 79% of them believe their BFFs have a positive impact on their self-image. So parents: it’s helpful to remember that there is a positive side to peer interaction too. (Source: Teen Toxix Study by OTX and Intelligence Group, 2009)

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