Losing Sleep Over Social Media

You know that feeling, don’t you?  You post a picture on Instagram or share something on Facebook or even write something meaningful (or at least you think so) on your blog and then you wait.  Will anyone see it?  Will they like it? Perhaps even share it or retweet the wisdom you just shared?

Following yesterday’s post regarding the number of selfies we see filling social media comes this article about teens that lose sleep over social media.

According to the research one-fifth of teens wake up during the night to check their social media feed.

The research comes from outside of the US, but I have to believe this is true in our country as well.  I remember hearing about teens who put plastic over their phones so they could have them while they showered because they were afraid they would miss something while separated from their device.

There have been other studies that have looked at teens texting at night.

While this information is neither new or surprising, it does shine a light on how connected we can become as people to social media and technology.

Youth speaker and author Jonathan McKee offers these suggestions for parents in addressing the issue and helping students make wise choices regarding social media use and technology in general.

1) Have conversations about the effects of social media. Not lectures… conversations! Read them one of the articles linked above and ask, “Is this right?” Then ask, “What do you think is a wise way to prevent this?”

2) Don’t think mere rules will solve the problem. The answer isn’t as simple as just limiting screen time (which isn’t a bad thing) or buying the newest parental tracking software for your kids’ phones (which isn’t fool proof by any means). Instead take the time and effort to teach your kids responsibility with their mobile devices. Here are 5 steps to actually doing that.

3) Look for ways to connect with your over-connected kids without have to say, “Put that stupid phone away.” Give them opportunities to enjoy “tech free” zones. Here are the top 5 of these connections I return to again and again.

If social media is keeping your teens up at night (or even you for that matter), this is good information for parents and those who work with students.

Teens Use Media 9 Hours Daily

Lightstock-Stock-Photo-Pearl-Smart-Phone-AddictionFor the past few years, I have heard the statistic that students spent 7.5 hours of their day connected to some type of media. A recent survey from Common Sense Media shares that students on average spend 9 hours every day connected to media.

For parents and people who work with students, it’s kind of important that we know what students are spending their time doing. What was interesting to me in the article was that only 10% of teens rank social media as their favorite activity. Model Essena O’Neill created a buzz on social media when she announced she was quitting social media because posts are edited and just try to get more views.

It would be interesting to engage in a conversation with students in your world and find out what they do with their time on media. Maybe it is social media, maybe it is texting. Whatever they do to fill the time, it is pretty clear that media is a huge part of it.

Here’s the text of a brief article related to this Common Sense Media survey posted on YouthMinistry.com. Check it out and maybe find out what your students do with media.

New York—According to a report from the nonprofit Common Sense Media, teenagers spend about nine hours each day using media for their enjoyment. That doesn’t include media use for homework.

Calling the numbers “mind-boggling,” James Steyer, the group’s CEO, said teenagers “spend far more time with media technology than any other thing in their life. This is the dominant intermediary in their life.”

The study also found that 67 percent of teenagers have their own smartphones, poorer kids have less access to technology, and boys gravitate toward gaming, while girls prefer social media. Only 10 percent of teens rank social media as their favorite activity, however, and Steyer believes that’s because checking those sites now feels like a requirement. “They don’t love [social media],” he said, “and that’s good, in my opinion.”

One person who stopped loving social media is Essena O’Neill, a 19-year-old model who had more than 1 million followers on various platforms. This week, she announced she’s quitting social media, saying it made her miserable and wasn’t “real life.” Post are “edited and contrived to get more views,” she told followers before deleting her pages. “Social media is an illusion.”

O’Neill said she followed famous people on social media, trying to emulate them. But then she realized, “I didn’t live in the real world, I lived through screens. And I created a celebrity construct of myself, believing it would bring me happiness. That couldn’t be further away from the truth.”

O’Neill, who’s launching a website called “Let’s Be Game Changers,” said, “I no longer want to spend hours and hours of my time scrolling, viewing, and comparing myself to others. I want to do something, anything, something radical, something a little different. I want to use my imagination, my individual mind, my unique take on the world.”

Sources: commonsensemedia.org, cnn.com