A new Common Sense Media research study explores the presence of social media in teens’ lives.  Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives tells us some things we all knew or suspected, like the fact that teens are avid, daily users of social media.  But did you know that most teens prefer face-to-face communication?  According to the study, talking to each other in person is still teens’ favorite way of communicating and they think that social media can sometimes interfere with that.

“Teens are much more likely to report that using social media has a positive impact on their social and emotional lives than a negative one.”

Overall, the study challenges several common assumptions those of us who work with youth often hold.  While the study confirmed that teens do have negative experiences related to social media use, it found that in general they are much more likely to report that social media has a positive impact on their lives.  I’ve often heard complaints from prevention educators that the only trainings they can find about youth and social media focus on how bad it is for them.  What about how good it is?  Those of us who work in prevention can use this new research to inform comprehensive prevention strategies that include multiple methods of communication for youth.  We can also help shift the discussion about media and technology to how it can be a useful prevention tool.
Explore this dynamic infographic for an overview of research findings.