This is a guest post from Andy Earle (see bio below) about Positive Effects of Social Media on Teens.
It’s easy to peg social media as a bad influence on our teen’s lives because it’s caused such a big shift in parenting over the last 10 years. We covered the risks here, although, this new technology is not all bad. There are a number of ways we see the positive effects of social media on teens. Here are the top four!
1. Creative Expression
Social media platforms give teenagers an accessible, world stage for creative expression. Teens all over the world use sites like YouTube or Twitch to create and share video content, express their opinions and grow communities (some of which are over a million members strong). Similarly, Tik Tok, Musical.ly and Soundcloud allow teens to express themselves musically to an international audience. Plus, there is so much variety in digital content online, teens have the freedom to create any genre of content they desire. There’s likely a digital community for every artistic niche imaginable.
It’s crucial for teens to have a creative outlet, a voice, and a sense of freedom as they learn to become more independent. Without internalizing or externalizing their emotions in healthy ways, it puts them at risk.
2. Digital Resume
Social media presence could be a valuable commodity in the future, acting a digital resume. It might be great for your teen to start building a positive reputation on the internet by cataloging their personality and achievements. Teens who are active on social media today might have a stronger digital footprint in the future, which could better their chances of meeting friends or being hired for a position. On the other hand, it might come across as odd if your teen lacks a digital presence in the future.
3. Career Path
Social media is creating a ton of new jobs and career opportunities for our teens’ generation. Teenagers actively learn about the business side of social media by using their apps so frequently. Exposure to ads and influencers can open their eyes to the many careers in digital marketing, social media management, public relations, and content creation. Social media might offer your teen a way to learn how to market and advertise their own content or brand. Practicing with their own social accounts could result in years of experience on a career path that they feel passionate about. They might even be inspired to study social media in college and join the booming industry.
4. Support System
Another positive effect of social media is that it provides a great support system for many teens. Teenagers report that social media provides a connection to others that can help them in times of need. The support from online communities, the immediate connection to friends, and access to 24-hour mental health services are invaluable resources to today’s teens. In fact, disconnecting a teenager from their social media might inadvertently sever them from a crucial support system. By the way, if you think your teen is using social media to cope with the symptoms of depression, you might want to check out this guide. Overall, social media appears to help teens feel less lonely when they need help.
It’s Not All Bad
Social media can positively influence your teen’s life by offering new platforms for expression, potential career prospects, and more. It might be a great investment for teenagers as long as they use it responsibly.
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.