Trending now: Stopping the worst of social media for children - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Trending now: Stopping the worst of social media for children


(CNN) -- If you've ever watched teens using social media, you may wonder what's going on in their heads when they're engrossed in their screens. A new CNN study found out, as hundreds of 8th graders allowed them to take a look at their social media feeds. 

Other studies have asked teens to self report what's happening on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. This study took a different approach, recording everything 216 13-year-old students did in a secure online archive and one of the biggest findings was that teens are addicted to following each other.

More than 175 students of the original group completed the archiving of their social media activity and in six months; they commented or posted 87,263 times on Instagram, nearly 26,000 times on Twitter, and 12,000 times on Facebook.

More than posting, they're tracking others. One-third of the teens said they check social media more than 25 times a day on a typical weekend. So why do they do it? Eighty percent report they're bored, 71 percent say they want to connect with friends, 61 percent want to see if their posts are getting liked and to see the comments and 21 percent say they want to make sure no one is saying mean things about them.

That leads to a critical finding about those teens' parents: almost all, 94 percent, say they underestimated the amount of fighting happening over social media. But the study suggested that teens do benefit from parents trying to monitor their social media activities. When parents engaged in close monitoring, the study said, the relationship between social media conflicts and stress in teens almost disappeared.

So, what can parents do to help teens avoid getting too sucked into social media and worrying about what people say about them online?

A child development expert who worked on the study says parents need to spend time on the same social networks their children are using to see how it can impact them. For example, realizing how good a series of "likes" on a posting can make you feel, so you understand the impact it has on your children and can help them understand that counting "likes" and keeping score isn't healthy.

On the other hand, the study says, much of the online content researchers observed was positive. Forty percent of the teens said social media often makes them feel good about themselves and it can be a way to feel supported for positive leadership.

Here are some additional links about the study:

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