Common Sense Media released a report illustrating the role that social media plays in the lives of teenagers. Even though the study shows that teens are aware of the negative effects social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, has on their mental health, social media use has increased 36% since 2012.

Social media awareness

Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, Jim Steyer, says, “Kids are much more aware today than they were a few years ago of both the pros and the downsides of social media.” Most studies about the affects of social media have been focused on addiction, stunted social skills and increased feelings of depression.

Shooting Star

A ‘neutral’ effect

A large handful of teens stated that social media didn’t really affect any of their relationships, mental state or actions neither positively nor negatively. An even greater handful even reported that social media actually has a postive affect on their lives. It has just become a part of their life, not really thinking too much about it.

All This Kissing

Most teens are aware of manipulation

72 percent of teens involved in the study reported that social media companies work to keep their users using the app, no matter what it takes. 70 percent of young people claim to check their social media multiple times per day, while 16 percent say that they are on it “almost constantly.” Generally, teens prefer speaking to others via text over any other form of communication.

Martha Debayle

Teens stand by their responses

“Teens who are already lower insocial and emotional well being are the teens who are most likely to have negative responses to social media,” said Rideout. “But even among these more vulnerable teens, they’re still more likely to say that social media is a more positive than negative experience.”

The Youth Project

Growing up with smartphones

The oldest teens involved in the study were born in the year 2000, making them only 18 years old. They don’t know of a world without this kind of technology. Social media and smartphones are a guarantee in their lives, not an interruption, which may allow for the more positive attitude. These teens rely on these apps, but generally understand how they are really only here to profit off of them.