Teens: Devoted social media users

File photo (MGN)

By Amy

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- A recent study by Common Sense Media concluded what many parents and teens likely already know -- Teenagers are plugged in.

The nonprofit children and family advocacy group described the study as a snapshot of how U.S. teens experience the role of social media in their social and emotional lives.

Surveying 13 to 17-year-olds, Common Sense Media found that 90% of all American teens have used social media, three-quarters of them have a social networking site and nearly one in three teens visits their social networking profile several times a day or more.

Key findings:

  • Teens are avid, daily users of social media.
  • Teens are much more likely to report that using social media has a positive impact on their social and emotional lives than a negative one.
  • Most teens prefer face-to-face communication and many of them think using social media can interfere with that.
  • Some teens wish they could disconnect more often and that the people around them would, too.

Speaking on Lowcountry Live, parenting expert Bonnie Compton noted that some suggest that social media raises children's confidence levels.

She liked that the study indicated that children do like to "unplug" now and then. She is concerned when she sees children sitting right next to each, texting each other.

"They're not talking to each other," said Compton. "What is meant to connect us can disconnect us."

Sometimes, being too clicked in can affect a child's social skills. It can inhibit the use of and learning from eye contact, body language, etc.

Compton suggested that parents have honest conversations with their children about technology use.

"Besides being role model, that's where you start, you set limits."

Some ideas for setting limits may include not allowing cell phones at the dinner table, collecting phones before a family car ride or requiring the nighttime charging of phones outside of the child's bedroom so that they are not using it concealed.

"We have to be a role model for our kids because they're watching us."

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