Facebook Upside Your Head

Teens and Facebook

In spite of all the bad press Facebook has gotten lately over leaking-like-a-sieve privacy concerns, it seems that the youthful set is still flocking regularly to that social media stopover and other venues like it.

The latest compiled numbers from sources such as the Associated Press and the Pew Research Center suggest that:

  • Nearly 90% of teens 13-17 use some sort of social media, and 51% say they go online “several times a day.”
  • 80% of teens report using Facebook, 76% use Instagram, 94% use YouTube, 75% use Snapchat, 47% use Twitter, and a little under 30% use Tumblr.
  • Anywhere from 80-90% of those who use Facebook say they use all the other prominent social media platforms, too, including Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.
  • Oh, and people in the teen-to-early-twenties demographic report having an average of around 300 friends on their Facebook profile.

That continued rush to social media kind of makes sense. After all, it’s always been this way. Way back at the dawn of recorded history—like in my childhood—early man didn’t refrain from the very popular activity of tossing rocks around just ’cause a few bounced off his head now and then. He was raised on rocks. Rocks were part of life. Rocks were fun.

And now, all these years later, nothing much has changed, except that the head-thumping things aren’t quite as solid.

They can still leave a bruise, though.

At the risk of sounding like a Nathan Negative, let me list some of the other rocky Facebook issues that people have been grumbling about over the last couple of years. Consider it a  refresher course, in case you’ve forgotten.

There have been studies suggesting that Facebook can:

Leave teens feeling isolated.
After all, being glued to a computer and never getting out to actually meet anybody isn’t really social, no matter how many things you like or how many snarky comments you post.

Make kids, uh, plump.
It seems that chip-gobblers of a feather, Facebook together.

Impact teens in a variety of negative ways emotionally.
Whether you’re anxious about missing out or just flat out sad that your life isn’t matching up, things like Facebook can mess with your mind.

Have an effect on teens and their sexuality.
Whether Facebook is trying to make some cash or simply disseminating information, the social network is evaluating your perceived sexual preferences and potentially sending you in any number of directions. And that’s not even counting those disquieting old Facebook posters who are eager to, uh, communicate with the youth of America.

And even be bad for young eyes.
Hey, carpal tunnel eye may be closer than you think.

I could go on. But it’s no use kicking an app when it’s down. Social networks can provide a lot of benefits in these modern times, too, allowing us to stay in touch with friends and family, share thoughts and even set up actual face-to-face get-togethers. Why, we’re on social media, so it can’t be all bad.

The point is, potential problems go hand-in-hand with a little too much social media use. And when the majority of teens are accessing Facebook and other social media apps during the majority of their day, well, that can equal a little too much.

So, why risk a thump to anyone’s head?  This old Neanderthal would suggest that we all get outside from time to time, enjoy our friends, and find something soft to toss around.

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

charitysplace More than 1 year ago
I had Facebook for about a year and then deleted my account -- oh, 14 years ago? I found that it reinforced my desire for praise, and did not foster true relationships -- I thought, mistakenly, it would connect me to people, but found out they only wanted me to hit 'like' on their posts -- most were not interested in genuine conversations. So, I left and have never looked back.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She sounds like a keeper, Bobed! Hurray for independent thinking.

-- The Kenosha Kid
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For once, bobed, I'm with you. Of course, I don't have kids of my own, but if I did, I would probably have added, "and you'll always live under my roof." I am not kidding, I would not let my kids leave my sight until they put me in the ground. I wouldn't care if they were 6 or 60. As far as I'm concerned, the only way to keep kids on the right path is to make sure they stay on it, even if it means ruling with an iron fist. I doubt anyone will agree with me on that point, but, if God is to be our example of fatherhood, I think we can all agree, God doesn't let us out from under His thumb just because we reach a certain age.

But I don't have kids, and it's unlikely, I never will. So, I guess it doesn't matter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Yes but God also doesn't control us, our every action. He never loses sight of us but allows us humans to choose either the good or the bad. So as a father at some point you have to allow your kid to take that step into adulthood whether it be through college or getting a fulltime job and moving away, cause realistically, we can't control our kids forever. Also it is extremely important as kids grow up to learn from bad experiences. No one is perfect and we can't expect them to be perfect all their lives, but whenever they sin or make a mistake, if they have been grounded with a strong faith through childhood, they can learn from those experiences and grow as a Christian and then someday as a father or mother. I mean come on, I am sure you have made some stupid decisions as a young adult, but now looking back you have wisdom into those bad circumstances and can help your child understand how it would effect them, so that hopefully they will be spared from the same mistake.

- Joe

Kal El More than 1 year ago
That’s interesting phrasing. “God doesn’t let us out from under His thumb...”

Is that your impression of Father God? Not, “He holds us lovingly in His hand, guiding us”?

Is the approach you’re espousing one your father used with you? Did he keep you under his thumb, or lovingly empower you to become a well adjusted adult?

I want to encourage you that the wounds you’ve received from male authority figures are not who Father God is. :-) Our image of Him is often shaped or affected by them, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can be healed and break agreements with the lies that were modeled for you, and realize God really is a totally good and loving Dad, He’s not angry and out to punish or mind control, He wants to be close to you and cherish you and for you to let Him in. I came out from under some serious wounds and lies myself, so I want to encourage you that I’m not judging you, I am excited for God to do the healing work in you He wants to do so you can have the abundant life you were made to have, and that all starts with really receiving identity from Papa God. :-)

I’d recommend looking at Theophostics or Sozo ministry, because I think you’d really benefit from it and I can promise you’ll be overjoyed to learn how good a Dad God really is. :-) You have it in you to be brave and pursue healing even when it might seem hard, starting with recognizing the need.

Bless you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

 @Kal El 

Actually, my dad was not that way at all. But as for me, I think authoritarian parenting would be preferable in this day and age. I think kids have forgotten who should be in charge. And I believe that God is our king primarily and we should view him as such, our absolute ruler. Is God a good, loving God? Absolutely, but at the same time, we should all know to fear Him and I do mean fear. Just look at examples found in the Bible, fire from Heaven, rivers of blood, frogs, plague, the death of firstborns. Doesn't that sound frightening to you, especially when you consider He can do it without thinking twice. And you don't approach your king lightly.

God does not have a limited rule. God does not run a democracy. We have to conclude He rules a dictatorship. A benevolent dictatorship, but a dictatorship all the same. If God rules the world as such, should fathers not run their homes the same? I say yes.