Study Explores Downsides of Teens and Social Media

Though nine out of ten teenagers use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites and report it has more of a positive than negative role in their lives, Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives, a new report from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media, has found that many teens still prefer talking to interacting digitally – and many describe their relationships with social media as an “addiction.”

According to the report, teens’ favorite way to communicate with their friends is by talking in person (49%), with texting next (33%) and social media a distant third (7%). Teens who prefer talking face-to-face say it’s because it’s more fun (38%), and they can better understand what people mean (29%). The telephone, a mainstay of teenage life just a generation ago, is virtually dead: Only 4% of teens prefer to talk on the phone.

“Today’s 13- to 17-year-olds are the first generation to go through their entire teen years with such an array of digital devices and platforms,” said James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media in a statement. “This report reads as a primer for parents to teens and tweens — to help them understand how their kids are engaging with technology and to highlight any impact it might be having on their social and emotional well-being.”

Image: Teen girl texting, via Shutterstock

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