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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 Facebook, which was the most popular social media site in the 2012 survey, has largely been replaced by Snapchat and Instagram. 41% of respondents name Snapchat as their social media site of choice, 22% are avid Instagrammers, and a mere 15% are fans of Facebook.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 FIRST

FIRST students learn real-world career skills through robotics competitions.

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In today’s rapidly changing world, most parents are concerned about what the future looks like for their children. Whether concerning technology, culture, or values, young people today are expected to navigate—and attempt to thrive in—a society that’s far more complicated than that of their parents. It’s one of the reasons why parents are keen to involve their kids in activities that will help them become more resilient, well-rounded and better prepared for life when they enter adulthood.

One such activity is FIRST®, a volunteer-based global robotics community that helps young people discover a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through exciting, multifaceted challenges. FIRST helps kids ages 4 to 18 to build confidence, resilience, cooperation and empathy as they compete and collaborate with one another.

You may have seen the transformative power of FIRST programs featured in the new 2022 Disney+ documentary “More Than Robots.”

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via Pexels

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Of all these people, the co-worker who can’t stop talking may be the most challenging because you see them every day in a professional setting that requires politeness.

There are many reasons that some people talk excessively. Therapist F. Diane Barth writes in Psychology Today that some people talk excessively because they don’t have the ability to process complex auditory signals, so they ramble on without recognizing the subtle cues others are sending.

It may also be a case of someone who thinks they’re the most interesting person in the conversation.

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Sometimes, life can unexpectedly snatch you away from safety and thrust you into imminent danger. Other times, life can just as quickly turn a dire circumstance into a heartwarming miracle.

Such was the case for a baby hawk who went from being dinner to being adopted by a family of bald eagles near the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, Canada. The amazing moment was captured by a 24-hour livestream webcam run by GROWLS, a nonprofit organization that helps rescue and rehabilitate injured wildlife.

The video shows the seemingly doomed baby hawk being tossed into an eaglet’s nest. Pam McCartney, a GROWLS volunteer who had been watching the livestream at the time, braced herself.

"Usually when I watch, like, David Attenborough and his shows, I can close my eyes or fast forward or whatever, but this was live at the time, and I was just like, oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh," she told CBC.

Much to her surprise, nature seemed to have something else in mind.

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If you're looking for a reminder of the good in people, we've got some sweet evidence for you.

Madison Mealy and her husband Blake recently moved to a rural area in the Blue Ridge Mountains and are new to country living. Mealy shared a video on TikTok showing her husband mowing the lawn with their baby in a backpack.

Cute, right? The only problem is they have a humongous lawn and her husband was mowing it with the teeniest push mower.

To be fair, if you've never had a big lawn, you may not realize how long it takes to mow and that not all lawn mowers are created equal. (They make riding lawn mowers for a reason, and it's not because of laziness.)

Mealy shared her amusement at having sent her husband out to buy a mower and seeing him come back with the tiny mower. It was going to take him hours to mow their grass.

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