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Are Teens Irresponsible on Social Media?

May 7, 2018

I think we can all agree that middle schoolers are tired of hearing about the negative effect of their phones. In fact basically everyone is. Social media is causing depression in teens. The phone’s blue light can cause cancer. Phones are a distraction in class. Talk to people in real life. You will have vision problems when you are older. Phones could be bad for your immune system… the list can go on and on and on…

All of these warnings might be true. But there is one that rises above the rest.

¨Stranger danger¨ is one of the first things we are taught as toddlers, but somehow teens are pretty awful at following this basic rule. Social media has opened up a completely different world and has brought on ¨stranger danger¨ in a new form, one that can be easily disguised.

Psychology Today says that tweens’ brains are simply not developed enough to handle social media. Now, if you ask most students at this school, they will argue that they should have a phone and they know exactly what they are doing;

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the thought of being considered immature is just too much for tweens and teens to bear. However, the concern is still certainly there. According to a poll on EMS’ The Link, 76 percent of students said that others are not really responsible on social media. But responsibility is a nebulous concept that is hard to define.

I am often told I am paranoid when it comes my wariness about connecting with people I don’t know online. The words, “Mia, people really aren’t that awful,¨ is certainly not foreign to me. Sure, maybe just a few people have complete horror stories about creepy people they met on social media, but the risk is still there and so are the stories.

The creepy stories many be, well, creepy, but they still provide a fairly good warning of stranger danger. Teens, being stereotypically stubborn, just don’t want to be told they are wrong, so very rarely listen. Though, in some cases, maybe they do not want to be ¨responsible.¨

When a teen or a child has his or her own phone, they now have a way to keep secret much of what they are doing. And, if they do behave irresponsibly, they can get away with it for a long time.

Tyler Thirlby, who was featured in East DMC´s documentary on the opioid crisis, told our advisory period that every kid with a cell phone does have access to drugs, if they wish.

This means that teens and even younger children could be doing things that are not only irresponsible, but also illegal through their phones.

Maybe we should take a minute and consider all those endless warnings about our cell phones. The grownups might be right.

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