5 Questions You Have to Ask About Teens and Social Media

Pew Research Report Outlines Important Trends

Pew Research recently released its report on teens and social media. The report highlights the rapid shifts in the communication landscape for teens.

The influence and impact of technology on teens and social media raises some important questions for parents, educators, and employers.

“Technology gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it still doesn’t help us know what to say.”

— Jonathan Sacks

The growth of and access to mobile devices and tablets has resulted in 92% of teens reporting they are online daily.

The data clearly confirms that the communication landscape is evolving which has significant implications for parents, educators, and employers. Researchers even found that administering the survey on-line as opposed to by phone increased responses and improved candor.

What did the research reveal?

  • 24% of teens are on-line constantly.
  • 56% of teens age 13 to 17 go online several times a day.
  • There is a distinct pattern of social media use based on economic status.
    • Snapchat and Twitter are more likely to be used by weathier teens.
    • Facebook is used more frequently as income falls.
  • Facebook is used by 71% of teens and is the most popular and frequently used social media platform among teens.
    • 52% use Instagram
    • 41% use Snapchat
    • 33% use Twitter
    • As teens get older they will use multiple social media sites.
    • As income rises, use of Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter displaces activity on Facebook.
  • Only 12% of teens, 13-17, do not have a mobile phone.
  • 90% of teens text sending and receiving an average of 30 text messages a day.
  • Boys are more likely to play video games while girls are more active on social media.

“Our technological powers increase, but the side effects and potential hazards also escalate.”

— Alvin Toffler

What does this tell us, and what questions should we be asking when we think about teens and social media?

  1. What type of digital footprint is being created? How might it impact users today and in the future? Think about social media as an evolving personal resume that is not easily edited.
  2. Life moments and memories are an integral part of our lives. Do we want them to be viewed by everyone? Will they expose us to risk?
  3. What is the intent and focus of social media communication?
  4. Communication may be evolving, but being a quality communicator will remain a critical success factor. How is the use of social media shaping communication skills?
  5. What are the implications for building effective lines of communication with different generations?

It is not just the message, but how we deliver it that will determine if it gets heard.

Question: Do you think technology is helping or hurting your ability to connect with the most important people in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

One thought on “5 Questions You Have to Ask About Teens and Social Media

  1. Helping. Yes, a disruption and distraction at times, but used properly it connects you more often w/loved ones. They expect it, and God help us if we aren’t there as parents.

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