Social Media can get a bad rap, especially when we link it with teens. It’s easy to rattle off the reasons it’s “bad” for teenagers: it’s a waste of time, it’s dangerous, it destroys self-esteem, it encourages cyberbullying. While it is true that not all social media sites are productive or even healthy, we’ve decided to take a closer look at social media and focus on the positives. After all, this generation is not going to just put down their iPhones, they are only going to get more tech-savvy.
1. It can create, strengthen and deepen friendships.
Studies show that social media helps teens make friends and keep them. When making new friends, social media has become a major part of the teenage identity—62 percent of teens are quick to share their social media usernames when connecting with a new friend. Social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook keep friends in almost constant contact with eachother, which strengthens their bond and gives them a sense of feeling connected.
2. It gives them true feeling of belonging and an alternative support system.
Online acceptance and connection can validate a marginalized teen. Think of the kids whose interests reach beyond football, cheerleading or even Star Wars. Or the teen who isn’t quite ready to share his or her sexual identity with his friends and family. These teens can find people that share the same interests and issues that will accept and support them. There are thousands of online interest groups where teens can connect and explore and discuss their interests, ideas and issues.
3. It gives them a place to express their creative talents.
Pinterest, Instagram, PicsArt and YouTube can all be outlets for teens to express themselves. Whether they are creating vision boards, collages or videos, all of these apps can be constructive ways hone their artist skills.They can chose to share their what they create with a large audience or just a few chosen friends and get feedback, or keep it for themselves. Either way, finding a create outlet teens enjoy is always a positive.
Project B3’s Tips and Suggestions:
- Talk to your teens about what apps they currently using- keep in mind they can change from month to month. Be involved.
- Ask your teens who they chat with on social media. Show interest in their lives without interrogating.
- Ask to see their work online (i.e. cool images they’ve made, a video, even Minecraft). Encourage them to print out images, etc you would like to display in your home.