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article imageParents say teens social media use has increased during COVID-19

By Tim Sandle     Sep 2, 2020 in Internet
Social media has a dramatic influence on many young people and poses unique challenges for parents. a new survey reveals that 63 percent of parents in the U.S. say that their teenage children are using social media far more during COVID-19.
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago recently polled nearly 3,000 current or recent parents of teenagers to better understand their most pressing concerns and challenges with social media, as well as trends in behavior exhibited by their children. The findings have been compiled into a report ("Parenting Teens in the Age of Social Media").
The consequences include what social media takes children away from (sleep, face-to-face interaction, schoolwork, among other factors) and what social media exposes them to (hate speech, sexual content, and other dangers).
The findings produced a number of areas of interest to parents and policy makers. The key finding is with what parents think of social media, and here a majority are concerned. In fact, 58 percent of parents think social media has a net negative effect on their teenagers. In terms of the specific impacts, 68 percent believe social media affects their teen’s ability to socialize normally and 67% have felt concerned their teen is addicted to social media.
The primary parental concerns regarding social media use are the affects on the amount of sleep a young person is receiving and the impact upon exercise, in terms of not going outside as often. Other effects of being glued to a screen include not carrying out sufficient schoolwork.
There were also some emotional issues identified. Due to the predominance of 'likes' on social media, there were concerns expressed by parents over the need for approval or attention by teenagers. This is something that many parents are worried about as their children become older, especially in relation to the use of digital technology and adolescent mental health.
The survey also identified the platforms that parents had the greatest misgivings over, in terms of exerting negative effects upon their children. These were, in order of concern:
1. Instagram
2. Snapchat
3. TikTok
4. Facebook
5. YouTube.
With these platforms, the majority of parents noted that their offspring were using social media far ore during the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to 80 percent of parents constructing rules over maximum daily social media use. Where the stern word was ineffective, some had turned to use of monitoring apps. As many of half of the parents surveyed had resorted to censoring a post made by their teen due to concerns about the content (such as bullying or sexual content).
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