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
- 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.
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.
Is social media really so evil? #confessedsocialmediaaddict http://bit.ly/2p5yItP
People may be quick to judge our youth for their social media usage, is social media really so evil? Read more here: http://bit.ly/2p5yItP