Top 5 Ways Teenagers Can Benefit From Social Media
There’s no shortage of reasons to be skeptical about teenagers use of social media. You can choose from your list of cyberbullying, sexting, technology addiction, or any other valid concern. It’s important to remember though that like any tool of communication, it also has the potential for some very positive outcomes. Whatever your approach to kids and social media, here are a few ways that teenagers can benefit from the use of social media.
1. It Can Help Them Do Good
More often than not it seems that it is the youth that are promoting crowdfunding campaigns, awareness efforts, and other worthy causes. They find it easier to organize themselves for service opportunities, celebrations, and other wholesome activities through the use of social media. Here are a few examples of children using social media to accomplish incredible things.
2. It Can Build Friendships
I still remember clearly the day my childhood friend moved to the Philippines. Sure we could send letters or maybe make an occasional long distance call, but in reality, that distance destroyed our friendship. Social media has the potential to overcome many barriers in building friendships.
The Pew Research Center found that 57% of teens age 13-17 had met a new friend online. Of those who met friends online, 20% eventually met them in person. On top of finding new friends, social media has allowed people to maintain friendships when distance or other factors become obstacles.
3. It Can Provide Support
Many kids feel isolated because of their hobbies or interests that aren’t mainstream. Social networks such as facebook allow kids to join groups and make connections with people that share similar interests. So now the kid who usually sits alone at lunch can at least get online and find groups and forums to discuss japanese anime with.
Though social media has been identified as one possible culprit in the rise of teen suicides, the internet has also risen to provide options to help teens in crisis. The Crisis Text Line, for example, provides crisis help in the way teens most often to prefer to communicate: texting.
4. It Can Help Them Be Heard
YouTube broke down the barriers of broadcast. Now anyone with a phone can upload videos, engage in conversation, create a fan base, and perhaps even make a living. No longer does a teenager have to wait for a school talent show to showcase their passions, they have free and open access to platforms with millions of followers.
If you’re a dancer, an artist, a cook, a photographer, or an undecided teenager, social media is the playground that allows you to explore your interests.
5. It Can Educate
Lastly, social media is the quickest way to spread and consume information. Though this is definitely a double edged sword, with some responsible mentoring, teenagers can learn to identify reliable news sources and to consider multiple points of views. Social media is the playground for formulating opinions on issues and challenging your own beliefs and assumptions.