LONDON, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Teenage boys use banter and humour to deflect criticism on social media, a study by academics at the University of Birmingham reported Wednesday.
Over a 12-month period, more than 1,300 teenage boys from 10 schools and from a range of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds engaged a series of interviews, workshops and a survey with researchers from the university's School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences.
They found that in contrast to popular opinion, the study showed teenage boys were intelligent and critical users and generators of social media.
They used irony, through hashtags like #gymlad to enable them to post selfies about their bodies in the gym without fear of ridicule and within a context of acceptable banter.
The study also found teenager boys rely on social media to access a wealth of information about living a healthy lifestyle.
But rather than being victims of online harms, such as an unhealthy body image obsession, the majority were able to use humour, irony and banter to navigate social media content.
Lead researcher, Victoria Goodyear said: "Using humour and irony means that boys can still aspire to have gym bodies and be motivated by sport, exercise and healthy diets, but without the risk of being put down or ridiculed by their peers."
It points, added Goodyear, for the the need for adults, parents, carers and teachers, to try to better understand and empathize, rather than criticize how young people use social media.