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As I’m taking a class in Social Media and Informatics I find my brain even more consumed than normal with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. All of these are readily available on my phone so I can access them when and wherever I am, but of the four I only check Instagram daily, okay, multiple times daily. It’s an easy way to waste five minutes while I’m waiting in line or for the end of my lunch break. Below are some interesting articles I’ve found over the last couple of weeks.

How Instagram Became the Social Media Network for Tweens found on cnet.com

This article is told from a mother’s point of view. She explains how even though many parents would not let their kids have a Facebook page many were originally okay with them joining Instagram because they thought it was for people to share pictures. The parents didn’t understand all the ways Instagram can be used (direct messages, half naked pictures, and cyberbullying) but thought it was nice that their kids were taking an interest in photography. Lesson to learn: If it’s online and you’re worried about what your child’s online activities are, look into everything.

How Teens Are Really Using Social Media found on edudemic.com

This page has an interesting infographic with information about types of social media teens are using. My favorite part of the infographic is at the bottom where it lists the benefits and harm of social media and what parents can do to monitor their children’s behaviors instead of completely denying access. Most kids are using it, help them be smart about it instead of having them sneak around and doing it any way.

Why Some 13-Year-Olds Check Social Media 100 Times A Day  found on cnn.com

This is a really interesting article about a child clinical psychologist looking at the social media accounts of 13 year olds, with their consent. Teens can become obsessed with getting likes and trying to make sure no one is saying anything mean about them. If they find mean stuff they frequently retaliate. The author also briefly describes some positive aspects of social media use by teens but doesn’t divulge into enough to counteract the first 2/3 of the article.

Teens In Survey Paint Positive Picture of Effect of Social Media On Their Lives found on washingtonpost.com

This was a nice, positive look at how teens feel about social media. Feeling more connected and confident are just a couple of ways they feel it’s a benefit in their lives. The brief article also states that more than half of the teens surveyed feel like social media helps their friendships while only 4% of those surveyed felt like it hurt them.

Teens, Social Media and Technology Overview 2015 found on pewinternet.org

Libraries use the Pew reports all the time. This portion of last year’s report gives a comprehensive look at teen usage of social media and technology. I found it interesting that African American teens are more likely to have a smartphone over Hispanic and white teens and that more affluent teens prefer Instagram and Snapchat than those in families with lower income. According to this Pew report above, girls tend to use social media more than boys. If we’re still having issues with cyberbullying it means movies like Mean Girls is still relevant.

 

I really think it’s up to adults to make sure their children are using social media appropriately and keeping an eye on what’s going on. When I think of all of these articles and how much time teens spend on social media it makes me think back to my own teenage years, right before cell phones were widely used. I was the first of my friends to get a cell phone and I was 18. I didn’t use the internet to communicate with friends until I went away to college, after I earned my Associates Degree, by then it was 2002 (don’t go doing the math now!). I do, however, remember getting home from high school and wanting to call my friends asap. Many times my parents asked what was so important that I couldn’t talk to them the next day at school or ask what could possibly have happened in the 20 minute ride home from school that I had new news to share with them. I distinctly remember wanting to rehash crazy things that had happened during the day which couldn’t be done in a busy hallway during a 5 minute passing period. I see social media as new communication to keep in touch with friends across the country and I completely understand why teens want to use their favorite platforms all the time. Teens are constantly growing and changing and they just want to share their point of view, so instead of talking on the phone for hours, they use social media for hours.

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