Teens And Social Media: Even Digital Natives Want A Break From The Web


More than 90 percent of teenagers have used a form of social media, and yet even this tech-savvy generation feels the need to disconnect at times.

Despite technology's growing hold over communication within the United States, a recent study reported that teens would prefer talking to a friend face-to-face than through a device.

According to the survey, 49 percent of teens "say their favorite way to communicate with their friends is in person." Texting was the next most popular method, with 33 percent of teens saying they had used this medium to connect with friends; followed by social networks at seven percent. Rounding out the bottom were the telephone (four percent) and Twitter (one percent).

Another 43 percent of teens wished they could disconnect themselves from the internet occasionally, while 41 percent claimed to be "addicted to their mobile devices." And for a society in which a person's Facebook dependency can be measured on a scale, it seems surprising that 36 percent of respondents said "they wish they could go back to a time before Facebook."

Research was conducted by Common Sense Media, an independent nonprofit advocating media knowledge for both parents and children. For this data to be gathered, over 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds took an online survey from February 22 through March 11.

“Today’s 13- to 17-year-olds are the first generation to go through their entire teen years with such an array of digital devices and platforms,” says CEO and founder of Common Sense, James P. Steyer, in a press release. He continues by stating reports like this help families understand how social media is emotionally affecting their children, particularly in a time where nearly 70 percent of teens hide online behaviors from their parents, per Reuters.

While the above research makes teens seem internet fatigued, some statistics suggest there are positive effects of social media, like making children more aware of others' needs. The Common Sense data also reports that 52 percent of teens feel as though social media has "mainly helped their friendships," opposed to 4 percent who believe connecting online "mainly hurts their friendships."

Those in the study who most wanted to disconnect from the internet were teens who don't use social media regularly, or who often encounter degrading dialogue online because of gender, race, or sexual orientation.

For more statistics about teenagers social media use check out the infographic below: (click to see a larger version)

social media teens

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