Teens: So­cial me­dia makes them feel bet­ter; pre­fer it over talk­ing

Ripon Bulletin - - Nation -

NEW YORK (AP) — Today’s teens are al­ways on their smart­phones, many check so­cial me­dia “con­stantly” and pre­fer tex­ting over face-to-face com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

But a new poll finds that these same teens also say that so­cial me­dia has a pos­i­tive ef­fect on their lives, help­ing them feel more con­fi­dent, less lonely and less de­pressed.

The poll was re­leased Mon­day by Com­mon Sense Me­dia, a San Fran­cisco-based non­profit group fo­cused on kids’ use of me­dia and technology. It found that 89 per­cent of teenagers have their own smart­phone. That’s up from 41 per­cent in 2012, the last time the sur­vey was con­ducted.

But while 2012’s teens were all over Facebook, the age group’s pres­ence on the so­cial net­work has plum­meted in the past six years. Only 15 per­cent of teens now say Facebook is their main so­cial net­work. In 2012, 68 per­cent did.

Today, 44 per­cent of teens say their pri­mary so­cial net­work is Snapchat, mak­ing it the most pop­u­lar so­cial me­dia app, fol­lowed by In­sta­gram (which is owned by Facebook) at 22 per­cent.

Among the sur­vey’s other findings:

▶The ma­jor­ity of teens — 59 per­cent — said so­cial me­dia makes no dif­fer­ence in how de­pressed they feel. Twenty-nine per­cent, mean­while, said it makes them feel less de­pressed and 11 per­cent said it makes them more de­pressed. Thirty-nine per­cent said it makes them feel less lonely and 13 per­cent, more lonely.

▶Thirty-five per­cent of teens said tex­ting is their fa­vorite way to com­mu­ni­cate with friends, com­pared with 33 per­cent in 2012. Only 32 per­cent said talk­ing in per­son is their pre­ferred method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, down from 49 per­cent among 2012 teens.

▶Al­most three-quar­ters of teens said they be­lieve that tech com­pa­nies ma­nip­u­late peo­ple into spend­ing more time on their de­vices and more than half said us­ing so­cial me­dia of­ten dis­tracts them from home­work.

▶Sixty-fo▶r per­cent of teen so­cial-me­dia users said they come across racist, sex­ist or ho­mo­pho­bic or other hate­ful con­tent ei­ther some­times or of­ten.

▶Six­teen per­cent of teens use so­cial me­dia “al­most con­stantly,” while 19 per­cent never do.

▶Thir­teen per­cent of teenagers said they have been cy­ber­bul­lied. Nearly a quar­ter, mean­while, has tried to help a per­son who has been cy­ber­bul­lied by talk­ing to them or re­port­ing it to an adult.

▶More than half said par­ents worry too much about so­cial me­dia — on the other hand, 46 per­cent think par­ents would be a lot more wor­ried if they knew what “ac­tu­ally hap­pens” on­line.

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