How many times do you go on social media? Do you check Twitter once an hour? Do you only look at Instagram in the morning? Do you go on Facebook every time you’re bored at work? Well, if you’re a teenager, you may check your social media as many as 100 times a day.
“#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens” is a new CNN study on teens’ social media use. Child development experts studied the social media feeds of more than 200 eighth graders from across the nation to analyze what kids actually say to each other online and why it matters so deeply to them.
It found that 61% of teens are eager to see if their posts are getting attention, 21% want to make sure no one’s saying anything unkind about them, and 36% want to see if their friends are doing anything fun without them.
In other words, teens are so strongly attached to social media because they feel the need to stay in the know and manage their reputations. They also suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out).
It’s not just teens, either. Millennials are also hooked on social media. Another new study by photo app Flashgap found that 87% of the 150,000 participating users admitted to missing out on a conversation because they were distracted by their phones. Another 54% said that they’ve experienced FOMO if they didn’t check their social networks, too.
The Flashgap study also found that social media is making millennials less social, ironically — in fact, 76% of females and 54% of males check social media platforms at least 10 times when out with friends.
“I am not at all surprised by these findings,” says John Diaz, Vice President of Sales & Operations, On Top Visibility. “I suspect that much of this is fueled by the fact that teens and millennials are often using mobile devices to access social media. I think as a society we used to look at the word mobile and think of a device or technology but we really should start looking at it more as a lifestyle and a behavioral pattern.”
Many might say that these findings are to be expected, but what’s interesting about teens and their connection to social media is that it’s blurred. They no longer see a distinction between their lives in the real world and their lives online. Nevertheless, they’ll still post things that they’d never say to someone face to face, such as profane insults and threats.
Ultimately, the study found that parents would be wise to take on a social media management role. A staggering 94% underestimated the sheer amount of fighting that goes on online. At the same time, parents who “tried to keep a close eye on their child’s social media accounts had a profound effect on their child’s psychological well-being.”