By After School Communications Manager Michael Luchies
In a recent article for The Guardian, Micha Frazer-Carroll discusses the benefits that “teens with problems” can gain from using social media. While I cringe at the notion that certain teens have “problems” while others don’t, because after all, every one of us has unique challenges, I wholeheartedly agree with the opinion that there are unique benefits to social media that are often overlooked.
“I and many young people I know believe that, overall, social media has been a positive force in our lives. Technology raises serious issues for today’s young people – but it’s not the only problem they face. In the period since social media use has soared, we’ve had years of austerity, increased poverty and a connected increase in adult mental health problems too.”
Micha goes on to explain that today’s teenager deals with more stressors than previous generations, which is likely a contributing factor to the increase in suicides.
Due to the access technology gives us to others around the world, it allows us to build relationships with those who are also going through similar struggles. “For teenagers, the internet can be a space to find like-minded people, especially for those who find it difficult to socialise,” says Micha.
After School, for example, partners with Buddy Project, a non-profit organization that uses technology to prevent suicide and improve the mental health of youth by helping them connect with buddies. Over 100,000 youth looking for help and friends have been paired with buddies. This wouldn’t be possible without social media and technology, which is often blamed for the issues teens face instead of credited as ato help them with many of the issues they encounter.
What do you think about the potential benefits social media can bring to teens? Share with us on Twitter @SafetyonSocial.