PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- They have to wear them in school to help stop the spread of COVID-19. But wearing a mask is not something a lot of teenagers like to do when they're hanging out with friends.

Many Arizona teens don't wear masks around friends, ASU study finds

"I'm definitely around my friends, like, 50% of the time, and I never wear a mask," said Bria Bruce, 16. "Nobody I know has contracted coronavirus yet, so there's no need."

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A recent ASU study reveals that many Valley teens have a false sense of security when it comes to the pandemic.

The study found:

  • 76% of teens surveyed said they were committed to wearing a mask around strangers.
  • But only 45% said they'd wear a mask around friends.
  • 82% of teens said they social distance around strangers.
  • But only 33%indicated they stay six feet away from their friends.

"When I'm with my friends right here, I don't really wear a mask or anything," said student Nathan Roeder. "I'm outside; I feel the wind is moving, so I don't wear a mask."

Dustin Pardini is the professor who headed up the teen Covid survey, through ASU's Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

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He said the study indicates a clear false sense of security with teenagers, who are thinking they're less at risk around people they know. "The key thing we found is that kids are much more likely to engage in all of these safety practices when their parents do, so kids are actually modeling the behavior their parents did," said Pardini. "They were 3 times more likely to social distance around friends, when parents modeled that behavior to them."

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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