“I would rather not eat for a week than get my phone taken away,” said 13 year old Gia.
Could your teen ever prefer technology to food?
Gia is one of 200 eighth grade participants in a new CNN study on social media and young teenagers. #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens, a special CNN report detailing the findings of this study, airs tonight.
The researchers found that the participants were heavily involved in social media. Over 90% of teens checked social media at least once a day, and 10% of participants even described themselves as “Very anxious” when cut off from social media.
Why the constant checking, and why all the anxiety? Social media not only provides “the peer connection that they so desperately crave,” it also provides an arena for posturing, increasing their social status, and attacking another’s social status.
Thus the anxiety. The teens are constantly checking social media because they want to know what other people are saying about them.. or not saying about them. Seeing pictures of parties and friendships from which they have been excluded is another stress factor of adolescent social media usage.
There is good news for parents, though. While merely being friends on social media with a teen did not seem to alleviate the emotional stress of social media, parental monitoring of teen’s social media activity ameliorated the negative effects of social media conflict for teenagers.