Common Sense Media, a non-profit dedicating to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology, has just released a new report detailing their survey of teenagers and their experiences with social media. The report, Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences, covers a nationally representative survey of over 1,000 kids ages 13 to 17 regarding their social media experiences and tracks changes from a similar survey done in 2012.
The key findings of the report are:
- Social media use among teens has increased dramatically since 2012.
- Only a few teens say that using social media has a negative effect on how they feel about themselves; many more say it has a positive effect.
- Social media has a heightened role—both positive and negative—in the lives of more vulnerable teens.
- Teens’ preferences for face-to-face communication with friends has declined substantially, and their perception of social media’s interference with personal interactions has increased.
- Many teens think tech companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices and say that digital distractions interfere with homework, personal relationships, and sleep.
- Teens have a decidedly mixed record when it comes to self-regulating device use.
- There has been an uptick in teens’ exposure to racist, sexist, and homophobic content on social media, ranging from an increase of 8 to 12 percentage points.
- Some teens have been cyberbullied, including about one in 10 who say their cyberbullying was at least “somewhat” serious.
- Social media is an important avenue of creative expression for many teens.
The full reportalso includes useful information on which social media platforms teens use, advice from experts on how to deal with your child’s social media use, and much more. The websitealso provides links to an easily sharable infographic, a summary of the key findings, and a short video on the report.
What PTAs Can Do
The results of this survey provide several ways that PTAs can help families manage their teen’s social media use.
- Use PTA’s Smart Talkto have a conversation about social media use and setting up rules.
- Use PTA’s Connect for Respectprogram to address bullying and cyberbullying at your child’s school.
- Plan a digital safety/Smart Talk eventat your school for Safer Internet Day on February 5, 2019.
- Share PTA’s resources on digital and online safetywith your families.
- Share the report,infographic, or key findingswith your families.