Do Teens have an Unhealthy Addiction to Social Media?

There is no lack of information that supports that exposure to social media can have negative effects on adolescents. A quick Google search will list articles and studies that say social media can lead to:

  • Unhealthy relationships
  • Lack of social skills
  • Bullying
  • Low self esteem
  • Academic failure
  • Lack of attention span

And the list goes on…

Although it may be fashionable to blame the media for our societal problems, we must take a look at the other side of the coin; is social media really so evil?

There are definite positive aspects to social media for teenagers. I have witnessed with the teens in my family that there is increased discussion and literacy skills built through social media. In the day of instant news, teens are often online discussing hot topics such as current events, news and sports. Having access to social media can definitely help teenagers develop awareness.

Adolescence can be a socially awkward time, teens are able to work on their social skills via social media. Although they are often criticized for being less social than previous generations, I would beg to differ. Many teens are learning to reach out to others with similar interest, maintain online friendships with old friends who have moved away or someone they met on a trip, and they are finding their voice and learning to ask questions online and make comments on posts of interest. With group chat options via Messenger, teens are often making plans and being more efficient in their time by communicating ideas and plans to a group rather than calling each individual.

Social media can offer inspiration. If you have a new found interest, it is quite easy to join groups or follow pages to learn more about the things that you are passionate about. Teens now more than ever are being creative and sharing their art, music, writing and photography skills with the world.

As stated in the Pew Research Center, Facebook Instagram and Snapchat are among the most used mediums of social media by teenagers.

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Social media is not going away any time soon. As adults it is our job to teach our children how to use it responsibly. Often, our teens are already more versed in how to use the various platforms responsibly.

What are the positive ways that you have seen teenagers use social media? Join the conversation below.

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5 thoughts on “Do Teens have an Unhealthy Addiction to Social Media?

  1. I have a teenage daughter who spends a lot of time on YouTube. She learned how to play guitar using YouTube tutorials. She also watched tutorials on makeup and something I find interesting is that she watches videos related to her future career aspirations. She will be the most informed when the time comes. She rarely watches TV.

    My daughter’s boyfriend went off to University last September and they have been able to be in daily contact with FaceTime. This in my opinion has been a relationship saver for them. He will be home in a couple of weeks and they will be togegher next year at University.

    She rarely uses Facebook, propbsbly because her mom uses it. Her social media of choice is Snap Chat, YouTube and SoundCloud to post her music.

    In my experience, my kids have been responsible on social media but I see many who have not and I am concerned about their future when they start looking fof a job.

    • YouTube tutorials are great, I use them also. It is interesting to see how much less television this generation watches in comparison to others. Facetime is such an awesome tool, I am so fortunate to be able to video chat my three year old nephew and so wish such a thing existed when my children were little.

      You are right about some who don’t use social media responsibly, sadly, those that I see doing that are often over the age of 35!

  2. I think that, as with anything, moderation is the key. I think if social media becomes the only interest, then there’s an issue. But I agree with you that it can open so many doors to a world that were previously closed because the technology simply didn’t exist.

  3. Moderation is definitely important and technology cannot be the only pass time for our children. I do love however, that when you are sitting on a beach by the ocean under the stars at 10:00pm and your children are talking about the jelly fish that they saw that day and wondering what and how they eat that you can grab your phone and Google it! This generation of children have a thirst for knowledge and easy access to it.

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