A majority of the time when I am speaking to adults about social media and teens they have very negative views. Usually based on news stories they have seen in the media. Yes teen use social media, we all know that. But it is not as negative or all encompassing as many adults may perceive. A new report from Common Sense Media titled “Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives” sheds light on how teens view social media, and there are some very positive findings. And to make it even better they created a nice Infographic for those who don’t want to sift through all the findings. (Common Sense Media is an organization providing families trustworthy information to thrive in a world of media and technology)
Here is the great Infographic, below I will provide a few helpful youth worker tips bases on findings of this study.
Youth Worker and Parent Tips:
- The report clearly shows that in person is their favorite way to communicate (followed by texting). Don’t get caught up in trying to publicize or reach teens for your program via social media. Meet them face to face. Take them out for a meal, hang out where teens are, engage them. Use social media and texting as a way to communicate and supplement word of mouth communication not take over for it.
- Just over half of teens feel social media can help their relationships with family and friends. I find this to be true when I speak with teens. They feel they can keep in touch and see what is going on in each others daily lives even if they live far away. Especially if it is not a friend or family member they are able to connect with regularly. As a parent, connect with other family members on social media sites and encourage your family to connect with your kids. This can allow your teens to feel more connected to their extended family making family get-togethers less awkward.
- There is a large group of teens (and adults if we are honest with ourselves) who feel addicted to social media and wish they could disconnect. Create opportunities for teens to disconnect. Don’t be forceful and make this something you do everyday for long periods of time. But maybe if you are going on a field trip, having a lock-in or going on a family outing you ask everyone (adults too) to try to refrain from using technology. Doing this periodically can help teach teens how to step away from technology and be more engaged in the moment.