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Teenagers, Cell Phones, and Social Media - New Survey Results!

Common Sense Media recently released the results of their 2018 survey of student cell phone use - Social Media, Social Life:  Teens Reveal their Experiences.  As a professional working with teenagers, some of the results won't surprise you.  But some will!  Below are the results in graphic form.  (Link to entire Infographic with all information.)

Social Media use has increased dramatically among teens:



Cell phones are changing teen preferences for how they communicate with friends and family, with more teens now preferring to text than speak in person:

Speaking in person brings a new level of understanding to communication through non-verbal signals like facial expressions and verbal signals like voice tone.  What a shame students no longer prioritize that rich communication experience.


Social Media distracts teens from enjoying other activities:



The most interesting statistic of all, though not a surprise to many.

Yet teens report overall positive feelings about their Social Media use:

This is a surprising result.  We currently are seeing a massive increase in the use of cell phones and social media, along with a massive increase in social/emotional concerns.  Are the two related?  It is hard to tell, but if social media is contributing to our students' social and emotional instability, many are unable to identify social media as a contributor to their unhappiness.

Our most fragile students are the most negatively affected by social media:


The above statistic surprised me initially, but then I thought about it and realized it makes sense.

What does this mean?  Cell phones and Social Media are a big part of teens lives.  In fact, a research study stated that:
These authors (Tatum, Olsen, and Frey (2018) believe that the millennial student views 24/7 social network connectivity as appropriate and normative.
Whether we like it or not, cell phones and social media are here to stay.  My next post will provide research that outlines cell phone and social media impact on learning, along with strategies to implement in your classroom.

Social Media, Social Life:  Teens reveal their experiences methodology: This report is based on a nationally representative survey of 1,141 13- to 17-year-olds in the United States. The survey was administered online by the research group GfK using their KnowledgePanel© from March 22, 2018, through April 10, 2018. Participants were recruited using address-based sampling methods. The margin of error for the full sample at a 95 percent confidence level is +/-3.4 percent. The overall design effect for the survey is 1.4048.

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