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How does social media influence gender norms among adolescent boys?

Research report

Written by Diana Koester, Rachel Marcus, Stephanie Diepeveen

This ALIGN report and companion briefing note delves into the complex relationship between adolescent boys' social media use and its impact on gender norms.

Anecdotal evidence implies clear links between social media use and a rise of discriminatory gender norms in adolescent boys, but the research to date suggests it is not a straightforward cause and effect relationship. Social media comprises many platforms, which adolescents use in different ways at different times. Personal experiences, pre-existing attitudes, social context, and platform design all play pivotal roles in influencing boys' perspectives towards gender norms.

The report synthesises available evidence on the impact of social media use on gender norms among adolescent boys. Rather than framing social media as a risk in general, it is helpful to focus on both the dangers and the positive potential of particular kinds of use in a specific context.  It then presents a framework for thinking about the potential sources of risk and thus entry points for mitigating harm and reinforcing positive effects.  

Based on the evidence outlined in the report, the briefing outlines a set of recommendations for policymakers and civil society actors, aiming to support positive gender norms among boys on social media. 

  • How does social media influence gender norms among adolescent boys?

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