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Adolescents and social media

The issue of social media and our children is one that is on the minds of every parent.  There are certainly things we hear that cause fear and our natural tendency may be to avoid the issue altogether, so as to avoid conflict with your children.  But, we’d like to challenge you to dig in and take this issue head on.  It’s one that will impact every family at some point, whether your children have their own social media accounts or not.  Below you will find some statistics and important information on the topic, along with some resources to find further information.

Statistics about social media use and impacts for adolescents can be overwhelming for parents but doesn’t have to be!  We want to help you know the facts, but also be prepared to create a plan that works for your family to keep your children safe and healthy when it comes to using social media.

What Does the Research Say?

  • Dependence on your smartphone may produce some of the same addictive brain responses similar to alcohol, drug and gambling addictions.
  • Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56% more likely to report being unhappy than those who spend less time. (That’s just over one hour a day)
  • More than twice as many girls as boys said they had been cyberbullied in the last year
  • Teens who spent three or more hours a day on electronic devices were 28% more likely to get less than seven hours of sleep
  • When children overuse technology, the constant stimulation of the brain causes the hormone cortisol to rise. Too much cortisol can inhibit a child from feeling calm which can lead to serious anxiety disorders.
  • Suicide rates are on the rise especially for girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years old. For this age group, suicide rates have tripled over the past 15 years.

The Pew Research Center’s 2018 survey of U.S. teens determined that one in six teenagers have experienced at least one of six different forms of abusive behavior online:

  • Name-calling (42%)
  • Spreading false rumors (32%)
  • Receiving unsolicited explicit images (25%)
  • Having their activities and whereabouts tracked by someone other than a parent (21%)
  • Someone making physical threats (16%)
  • Having explicit images of them shared without their consent (7%)

*information taken from:
Child Mind Institute - Smartphones and Social Media
University of Nevada, Reno - Impact of Social Media on Youth Mental Health
Wait Until 8th

How to Navigate Using Social Media

Tips for Children and Teens Using Social Media

Tips for Students

  • Set time limits - Talk with your parents and decide what an appropriate amount of time is to be on social media each day or week
  • Be aware of how using social media makes you feel - After you’ve been on a social media site take a second and reflect on how you feel.  Are you happy? Satisfied? Jealous? Encouraged? Depressed? Sad? Feel connected to others or lonely?
  • Remember not everything you see is real -So much of what we see and read isn’t real.  Remember to trust what you see in real life more than what you find online!

Tips for Parents

  • Keep an eye on how your children feel when they use social media. Have conversations about how what they see and interact with makes them feel.
  • Monitor messages and conversations to make sure they're safe.  Let your kids know that as their parents your job is to keep them safe and part of that is being aware of who they’re communicating with and what those communications involve.  Be honest about online dangers.
  • Be a good example of how to use social media!  Set limits and monitor your use and discuss that with your kids.  Help them see that you are working to be healthy as you interact with social media as well.

Child Rescue Coalition
North Carolina Department of Information and Technology
Time to Log Off
Protect Young Eyes