According to various studies, social media can be both good and bad.

Girls think more about how they present themselves on social media than boys

Some people compare themselves more to others.

The vast majority of children and adolescents use social media, but in different ways.

While social media is most important for girls, boys are more interested in gaming, a study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) showed earlier this year.

Now the NIPH has published another study on teenagers' use of social media.

The study shows that girls are generally more concerned with how they present themselves on social media than boys are, according to a press release from the NIPH.

This incorporates how many likes you get, how you look or in which situation the picture was taken.

Compare themselves to others

Gunnhild Johnsen Hjetland is a psychologist at the NIPH and has taken part in the new study.

She says that it shows big differences in how much teenagers think about venturing into social media.

According to the study, you probably think more about how you present yourself on social media if you are an outgoing person. These people are social, open and find it easy to talk to other people.

“Young people often compare themselves with what they see in social media. Research shows that this has a negative impact,” Professor Ian Colman told in 2020 (link in Norwegian).

Some may be more affected than others

In another article from 2021 (link in Norwegian), wrote about how people can become sad and develop negative affectivity from being peppered with happy pictures on social media.

Hjetland thinks that the use of social media can perhaps have more negative consequences for some than others. She says that more research needs to be done and over a longer period of time to be sure.

The survey was distributed to several upper secondary schools in Bergen in 2020. The researchers examined, among other things:

  • How much teenagers compared themselves to others
  • How much time and energy they spent on what they posted on social media
  • How important likes, comments and followers were
  • Editing images
  • Deleting content with little response

Also applies to many boys

Although the findings suggest that more girls than boys are concerned with how they present themselves in social media, it can be just as important for some boys.

However, this applies to fewer boys than girls.

Maybe boys are more concerned with how they present themselves or how well they perform in other arenas, such as video games.


Hjetland et al. Focus on Self-Presentation on Social Media across Sociodemographic Variables, Lifestyles, and Personalities: A Cross-Sectional Study, Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 19, 2022. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph191711133

Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Jenter er mer opptatt av hvordan de fremstår i sosiale medier enn gutter (Girls are more concerned with how they are presented in social media than boys), 2022.


Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik.

Read the Norwegian version of this article on



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