How many times have parents had to argue with their young son or daughter about getting their face out of their phone and focusing on the world around them? For most parents this happens more times than it should. It’s completely normal for parents of growing children to be concerned about their child’s safety, but is their obsession with social media really harming them?

Social media was created to connect people with others online and has recently been added on to smartphones, making it far more accessible than it originally was. This new way to easily be able to use social media has encouraged children and teens to begin to use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram frequently. Maturing teens and children are usually very timid when it comes to socializing with their families, which they sometimes view as “annoying”. so, what do these kids use as a solution or an “escape”? The answer is simple, social media. however, when they use social media for a large amount of time, parents tend to show concern for their child and blame social media for demanding their attention. These parents usually try to ground their child from their phone or try to monitor them by creating a social media account of their own. However, many of these adults find social media appealing too. They use it to keep up with current events and to connect with their friends. So, why do they believe that it’s consuming all of a teen’s attention and causing them to be less social?

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A recent CNN report on adults who have a teenager living with them say, “I’ll admit it right at the start: when I think about teens and social media, I immediately begin to tally up the negatives”. The word, “social”, was entered into the term, social media, for a reason. Parents of growing teens don’t seem to understand that. when they see their child using Twitter or Instagram they think that they are using it to get away for real world responsibilities. the truth, however, is that they are using it to connect with their close friends, make new friends, and receive information about what is currently happening in the modern world. Adults almost never think that young people use social media to read news articles or gain valuable information about current events. What some of them don’t know is that sites like Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat contain news that their users usually read or look at. For instance, Snapchat, a very popular social app that is specifically targeted for teens, posts new “stories” on the main page for users to watch a compilation of videos from multiple different people about a single event. Want to know how Mardi Gras went down last night? Check out the Mardi Gras story. Want to see how Donald Trump behaved at a recent Republican debate? Check out the recent debate story. These stories are posted daily on Snapchat and Twitter and Instagram are also great places for people to find new articles and testimonies.

Children and teens are wrongly accused for using social media only for entertainment purposes and for excessive amounts of time. As mentioned before, this is proven to be wrong. Sure everyone who uses social media enjoys contacting their friends and viewing entertaining things, but how come children receive all of the blame for abusing it? Generally, not yet completely mature kids have been known for only wanting to use the internet or their phones or other devices for their own enjoyment, but it connects them to their friends even when they’re far away from each other. Parents should really think about how social media can help children and teens learn and grow in the real world rather than it just being another distraction. These parents also feel worried for their child because of what people will say to them on the comment section of one of their child’s photos. Although their is always a risk of negative feedback, most all of the time positive or encouraging things will be sent. “You’re beautiful”, “Cool pic”, and other positive words like these are most commonly seen underneath a picture or video. Eileen Masio, a mother of teenager in New York, says, “I think just as damaging as social media can be, it can help build self-confidence too”.

Social media as a whole has both positive and negative aspects, but after all of the feedback from pre-teens, teens, and parents is put together, it is revealed that media is actually helping the newer generations in their lives. A child’s grades can improve because they can learn how to easily find ways to study, turn assignments in, or communicate with their teachers. Athletes can watch highlights of their favorite players or teams and can watch videos on how to improve their athletic fundamentals. Music artists or amateur musicians can watch or post videos of their work and ask for beneficial feedback on what they’re doing right and what they should work on. People can also learn more about key current events so that they can keep up with the times. Plus, parents always have the ability to monitor what their child is doing on their account. All in all, adults shouldn’t show hatred for Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram because what they don’t understand is that those sites are and are going to be positively influential on the modern generations and those soon to come.

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