Teens Say Social Media Can Have A Positive Impact On Their Life

teens on phones

Another day, another study about how social media is affecting our kids. This time, however, the news isn't all bad. In fact, teens are standing up for the very platforms which attract so much parental concern.

In this latest info blast, unveiled by the nonprofit advocacy group for kids and families called CommonSense, 70 percent of teenagers surveyed admit to checking social media multiple times a day. The group points out that percentage has doubled since 2012 the last time CommonSense dialed into the ways in which teens are engaging on social media.

Could the uptick be a result of more kids having access to their own mobile devices or simply sharing their social media activity more openly? That's up for debate, but of the 1,100 13- to 17-year-olds surveyed, their attraction to online engagement only appears to be growing.

But here's the thing, while teens are aware that social media affects their social and emotional well-being, many think it plays a positive role in that development, as opposed to a negative one.

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Yes, 3 percent did admit that social media makes them feel lonely. But a surprising 25 percent said the opposite. And the survey also asserts that cyberbullying may not be as widespread of an issue as has previously been suggested. Thirteen percent reported that they have been cyberbullied at some point, and 23 percent said they have tried to help a friend who has been the target of this kind of abuse. This is, of course, not to discount the horrors of cyberbullying and its affects on kids, just interesting to note that it may not occur as frequently as once believed.

teen social media
Credit: iStock / skyNext

What CommonSense learned in this study that is especially concerning is the amount of hate-based content that they have come across on social media. A whopping two-thirds of the teens surveyed said they have either often or sometimes read racist, sexist, homophobic or religious-based discriminatory material on some of the most popular platforms.

So how do we address these issues with our kids, who for the most part think social media is just fine and dandy? Open it up for discussion and keep the talking frequent. While the CommonSense study also found that kids would rather communicate with their parents via text than actual human conversation, that's one area we can't afford to let slide. Perform regular social media checks, ask questions, and offer emotional support.

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