Blog · Apr 22, 2020
In the last decade, social media use among 13-17 year olds doubled, from 34% in 2012 to over 70% in 2019. Additionally, those teens use social media on a daily basis, with more than 80% of 15-17 year olds logging into their accounts at least once per day. As social media becomes ever-more ingrained in our society, parents need a strategy to initiate and sustain conversations about safe usage of social media with their children.
The way children interact with their peers differs dramatically from the types of social interactions most parents experienced during their childhood. Teenagers still play sports, attend school events, participate in extracurricular activities, and spend time with friends. But while those familiar stalwarts of teen life remain the same, there is no denying the importance and influence social media exerts on today’s youth.
Social media is now a fact of modern life, and teenagers growing up with all these new ways to communicate are particularly vulnerable to being influenced by what they see, hear, and share with their friends. While there are plenty of ways in which children can positively use social media – like connecting with volunteer organizations or finding a community that shares their interests and passions – there is also a dark side. Unfortunately, social media enables many negative behaviors, like bullying and harassment, and can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
Social media use can lead to depression and anxiety and can play a significant role in a teen’s decision to use drugs or alcohol. Perhaps even more concerning, because teens are exposed to troubling content while their brains are still developing, the impact of social media is powerful, and its detrimental effects cannot be ignored.