Teens and Adults, alike, are becoming more reliant on social media in their every day lives. According to Common Sense Media, the percentage of teens with smart phones and the percentage of teens who check social media multiple times per day have both over doubled from 2012 to 2018. This fact alone is very alarming and something worth discussing. Below I will outline some positives and negatives that come along with the rise in social media use.
First, I’ll focus on the positives. Many teens say they are typically better off emotionally with the use of social media. Common Sense Media reports that most teens believe they are less lonely, less depressed and less anxious being able to connect with all of their friends online. Most teens also stated they feel more confident, more popular and better about themselves. While these are all good things, I think it’s very important to look further into these statistics.
While “most” teens expressed what I mentioned above, we still need to think about the teens who reported the opposite. It’s much harder for kids who aren’t naturally social to avoid being the target of bullying. I think the statistic that some teens feel less confident, less popular, more depressed, more lonely and more anxious hold more weight than the teens who are having positive benefits.
I don’t believe that social media use is intrinsically bad; however, I do believe that it is very powerful, and because of this we all need to act responsibly.
~ “With great power comes great responsibility” ~
Aija Mayrock, author of The Survival Guide to Bullying: Written by a Teen, emphasizes the point that social media is not going anywhere. Instead of trying to get rid of social media completely, she urges parents to have conversations with their kids to teach them how to act online. It’s important to teach kids while they’re young the importance of their digital footprint. Hopefully, when kids are taught to use social media respectfully we will be able to build a more positive online experience and get away from the current atmosphere of comparison and invalidation.