Social Media Helping Teens Develop.

Katie Davis, assistant director at the University of Washington has suggested that social media and direct messaging is helping adolescents achieve developmental milestones through “computer-mediated communication.”

The professor interviewed 32 teenagers, 15 girls and 17 boys ranging from 15-18 yrs of age and found that online social media and mobile phone communication are having a direct influence in the development of the youth of today. Her findings indicate that the teenagers who describe themselves as being shy or quiet find it much easier to talk about and share their feelings “behind a screen” as opposed to actual face to face conversations.

Professor Davis quotes…

“What they`re doing is different from generations of teenagers from before the digital era, but it comes from the same place of basic developmental needs. It`s just that they`re using different tools to satisfy these needs.”

The professor conducted a similar survey consisting of 2,079 mixed gender teenagers in the past and found similar results however the findings in both surveys were not all positive.

Although the findings indicate that these platforms and methods of social communication are somewhat beneficial for adolescents they also threw up fears that youngsters could become too heavily reliant on them for self confirmation leading to the development of an “autonomous sense of self.” The conclusion therefore must be that although it is healthy for children and adolescents to utilise digital communication it is just as important that they actually get out and mix with people of all ages during what can be the most psychologically and emotionally vulnerable period of their lives.

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