We all make mistakes. But social media can frame those mistakes and display them infinitely.(Unknown).
The landscape of social media is ever-changing, especially among teens who are on the leading edge of this space. We have all asked our teens how an app works or how to do something on our smart phone. Social media and computer technology is their space. 95% of teens have a smartphone and are on some social media platform throughout the day. YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are among the most common platforms teens use today for connecting, sharing and learning.
There are benefits to social media. One benefit is the ability to stay connected to friends. But let’s make sure that those connections are friends. Connecting to 2,000 friends is probably a stretch for a teen and an adult. If we think back to our science classes we may recall the idea of Dunbar’s number. Dunbar’s number refers to the number of people in an individual’s social circle whom they actually know what is going on in their “private” life. That number is 150 people. Beyond that, the relationship is an acquaintance. As a parent you can see that in action if you go through your own or your teens friends list on social media. How much do you know about every persson? Regardless, social media is a great way to stay connected to those around you and who you decide you want to be more connected with.
Social media can help our teens find a community that supports their specific activity. Often teens create study groups or teams will have a page where information is quickly shared to everyone on the team. It also allows your teen to find a community that supports their interest in a specific hobby. Your teen may be a talented saxophone player and they join a community where other talented musicians share works and struggles with that instrument. What a great opportunity for connection! The community creates support and a place to share your teen’s artistic abilities.
Social media also exposes teens to important issues all over the world, not just those in their communities. As a result, teens realize that social media is a way for them to help and support people and causes all over the world. Teens can use social media to organize fundraisers to support local and world efforts. Encouraging teens to be good stewards of the world around them, not just their own community.
Social media is open all day, every day, which makes our teens more informed today than ever before. They have unparalleled access to neighborhood, school, state, country and international news often as it is happening. This can be overwhelming in a good way. It opens the door for discussion about fact checking what your teen has seen or read on social media and it also broadens their knowledge of the world. It is vital to teach the teens of today that they must equip themselves with knowledge on current affairs, environmental issues and social debates so that they can make better decisions about their lives.