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.

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