Nine Key Findings from The New Commonsense Media Study of Teenagers And Social Media

  1. Social media use among teens has risen dramatically since 2012.
  2. Only a very 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.
  3. Social media has a heightened role–both positive and negative–in the lives of more vulnerable teens.
  4. Teens’ preference for face-to-face communication with friends has declined substantially, and their perception of social media’s interference with personal interactions has increased.
  5. 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.
  6. Teens have a decidedly mixed record when it comes to self-regulating device use.
  7. 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.
  8. Some teens have been cyberbullied, including about one in 10 who say their cyberbullying was at least “somewhat” serious.
  9. Social media is an important avenue of creative expression for many kids.

Check out the full report here.

The interaction of key finding numbers five and six are where it’s at for me. Most of the teens I work with are not blind to the forces driving their device use, and many express a sense of disappointment that they aren’t better about using them less. But they don’t know how. Seriously, if I’d had a smartphone at 15 I would have been lost; 42 ain’t exactly killing it.

This research feels important for youth ministry.

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