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Teens may actually have a better handle on their social media use than we think.

Many adults worry about kids and technology, but a new report by Common Sense Media offers a glimmer of hope when it comes to teens and social media.

Common Sense media conducted a nationally representative survey of 1141 teens age 13 to 17. The report of the survey, called “Social Media, Social Life; Teens Reveal Their Experiences,” compares current survey results with a similar one conducted in 2012. And while some of the results are unremarkable (News flash: More teens are using social media now than six years ago), others may come as a surprise.

Smartphone and social media use has more than doubled since 2012, with 89% of teens surveyed owning a smartphone and 70% regularly using social media. And teen preferences when it comes to social media have changed too. Facebook, which was the most popular social media site in the 2012 survey, has largely been replaced by Snapchat and Instagram. 41% of respondents name Snapchat as their social media site of choice, 22% are avid Instagrammers, and a mere 15% are fans of Facebook.  


Notably, teens appear to be well aware of the pitfalls of social media use and the effect that it can have on their lives.

As opposed to living in digital denial, a majority of respondents agreed that social media distracts them from homework and from the people they are with.

“Teens are often depicted as being heedless of the consequences of spending so much time on their smartphones,” James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media pointed out in a letter. “In reality, our survey reveals that teens are fully aware of the power of devices to distract them from key priorities, such as homework, sleep, and time with friends and family.”

72% of teens surveyed also say they think they are being manipulated by companies to spend more time on their devices. This self-awareness can be used as a tool for parents and educators to encourage healthy technology habits with teens.

Photo via Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images.

Surprisingly, very few teens say that social media makes them feel bad about themselves. Most say it gives them more confidence.

Another unexpected result of the survey is that social media use, for most teens, is not the big bad self-esteem killer that concerned adults often make it out to be. Far more teens report that they good about themselves and feel less lonely, depressed, and anxious when they use social media.

However, there is one caveat. The study also showed that teens who already felt bad about themselves felt worse using social media. So for vulnerable teens who struggle with self-esteem already, social media may exacerbate their confidence issues.

For already confident and emotionally healthy teens, though, social media doesn’t appear to be having a negative effect on their self image.

A note of concern: More teens say they prefer to communicate with their friends through texting than face-to-face.

One technology worry that many adults have—that young people are losing the ability to connect in real life—may actually have some credence. Unlike the teens surveyed in 2012, more teens in the current survey—44%—said their preferred method of communicating with friends is through texting than through face-to-face conversations.

What this means is open to interpretation, of course. Maybe some teens see texting as a means of constant communication and prefer the convenience of being able to reach their friends anywhere at any time. Or perhaps they really are finding it harder to make real-life connections, with all of the natural human intricacies that face-to-face communication entails. Who knows.

It is heartening to know that teens are not oblivious to the downsides of technology.

The social media wave is not going anywhere anytime soon. Talking openly and honestly with kids and helping them navigate those waters, rather than trying to fight the current, may be the best way to keep them afloat.

via Tod Perry

An artist's recreation of Jackie's napkin note.

A woman named Jackie pulled a move straight out of a romantic comedy recently, and it has the internet rallying around her potential love interest. Jackie met a guy at a bar and liked him so much that she gave him her phone number. Well, 80% of her number, that is.

The world heard about it on January 17 when Twitter user Henpecked Hal and shared a picture of the napkin with her partial phone number written on it. "My 22-year-old cousin met his dream girl at a bar and it's going pretty well,” Hal wrote in the tweet.

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There are two kinds of people in this world—those who Google "nightlife" when they're exploring travel destinations and those with no desire to venture anywhere after 10:00 p.m.

Nothing against those folks who enjoy spending after-bedtime hours in crowded nightclubs, but "nightlife" just sounds like torture to me. Even during my somewhat wild college days, whenever I'd go out dancing late at night with my friends, the little voice in my head would say, "You know you'd rather be curled up on your couch in your jammies right now." And it was right. I would have.

While some introverts may genuinely look forward to a night on the town, I'd venture to guess most of us don't. By the end of the day, our social batteries are usually pretty tapped out, so a quiet evening with a movie or a book is almost always preferable to one that involves trying to make conversation over blaring music and strobe lights.

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Family

A letter to the woman who told me to stay in my daughter's life after seeing my skin.

'I'm not a shiny unicorn. There are plenty of black men like me who love fatherhood.'

Doyin Richards

Dad and daughters take a walk through Disneyland.

True
Fathers Everywhere

This article originally appeared on 06.15.16


To a stranger I met at a coffee shop a few years ago who introduced me to what my life as a parent would be like:

My "welcome to black fatherhood moment" happened five years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

I doubt you'll remember it, though — so let me refresh your memory.

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Pop Culture

Magician changes his act so a visually impaired man can experience it for the first time

“I really want you to experience the magic right now. So let’s try something.”

@magickevinli/TikTok

“There’s always a way to experience magic.”

Pro magician Kevin Li has dazzled audiences, celebrities and even heavy hitters in the industry like Penn and Teller with his impressive sleight of hand displays.

However, Li would tell you that one of his “most memorable” performances wasn’t for a sold out crowd, but for a single person who might normally miss out on his gifts.

A video posted to Li's TikTok shows Li offering up a magic trick to a man who is vision impaired. At first, the man politely declined, saying, “I’m blind, so the magic won’t work for me."

Without missing a beat, Li replied, “I really want you to experience the magic right now. So let’s try something.”

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Identity

Alabama community loves deaf Waffle House cook who taught his co-workers to use sign language

Manager Michael Clements has "never seen" an employee like Pookie White.

via Google

The Waffle House in Hope Hull, Alabama.

Even though companies with workplaces that make accommodations for disabled workers are happier and more profitable, there is still a huge discrepancy in workforce participation between deaf people and those who can hear. According to Deaf People and Employment in the United States, 53% of deaf people are in the workforce as compared to 75.8% of those who can hear.

One of the biggest hurdles to deaf people entering the workforce is discriminatory hiring practices, intentional or not.

“There are often layers of discriminatory hiring practices that make [workplace participation] statistics still hold true today,” the study says. “Such practices can range from the discriminatory language on the job ad itself, to the application & hiring process, and can even impact the promotion of deaf employees.”

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Photo by Stacey Natal/Total City Girl used with permission.

Jillian, “... my heart skips a beat."

This article originally appeared on 04.08.16


I'm trying desperately to be respectful of the person speaking to me, but my husband keeps texting me.

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