By Linda F
This infographic from Common Sense Media, published on 26 June 2012, summarises the perspectives of 1,000+ American teenagers on their use of digital communications and social media.
Entitled Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives the study focused on the social and emotional aspects of teenagers’ use of digital devices and social media, and sought to investigate questions such as:
- How do teens think these communications tools are affecting their friendships and family relations, if at all?
- How does social networking make most teens feel about themselves and their relationships with their peers? Does it make them feel more connected or more isolated? Better about themselves, or more depressed and lonely?
The survey reflects common knowledge that social media is an integral part of teenagers’ lives and an important part of feeling connected. Insights into the negative impacts of being ‘always connected’ are also raised with some survey respondents expressing frustration with parents and friends who appeared to be “addicted to their devices.”
The survey’s focus on a qualitative response provides some interesting and mostly positive insights into teenagers’ use of social media. For example, more than half the respondents think social media has helped their relationships with friends. Twenty nine percent report they feel ‘less shy’ compared to 3 percent who feel ‘more shy’ as a result of using social media. Social media has also helped many teenagers stay in touch with friends they can't see often, and connect with new people who share common interests.
Ond of the key findings is that teenagers, like most of us, are happiest when interacting face to face.
Texting is the next most preferred form of communication and only 4 percent of those surveyed preferred to communicate by talking on the telephone.
How can libraries tap into these findings?
- Does your library have lots of spaces for teenagers to talk, relax and debate ideas?
- Do you welcome students’ use of their own phones and digital devices?
- Does your library have a vibrant, online presence with lots of student input?
- Are there new ways you could use social media to communicate with your teenage community?