September 14, 2018 | Betsy Morris, The Wall Street Journal
Pray for our youth and text the teens you love that you are praying for them.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Ps 103:13-14)
IFA editor’s note: Praying for the nation should include praying for our youth, who will be the leaders of tomorrow. As we pray for our youth, it is important to understand what their lives are like. Pray for strong connections to develop among Christian teens and for them to be different, reaching out to their peers with real friendship and caring. And use texting as a tool to pour into and encourage the teens you love. Not sure how to intercede for the teens in your life? Download our prayer guide: Praying for Students. Leave a comment to share how you are praying for and encouraging the teens in your life.
More than two-thirds of teens say they would rather communicate with their friends online than in person, according to a new study that comes as tech companies are trying to help parents and children monitor the time spent online.
The study, from the nonprofit Common Sense Media, is an update of a similar survey conducted in 2012 that was one of the first to document the influence of digital media on teens. It lands as Silicon Valley’s technology titans—including Facebook Inc., Apple Inc. andAlphabet Inc.’s GOOGL 0.90% Google—are trying to address rising parental concerns about whether too much screen time can be hurtful.
Ms. Rideout noted two other survey findings. The first was a rise in the percentage of teens—to 54%, from 44% six years ago—who say their devices distract them when “I should be paying attention to the people I’m with.” The other finding indicated that a sizable percentage of teens, 44%, say they are frustrated with friends for being on their phones so much when they are together.
“I start to wonder are we getting into some negative feedback loop. You’re distracted with people when you’re with them, and they’re distracted, and it isn’t as fun in person so you’d rather be communicating online,” Ms. Rideout said.
Common Sense, based in San Francisco, promotes safe media and technology for children.
The new study also highlights the increasing frequency of social-media use among teens, 89% of whom now say they have smartphones compared with 41% six years ago. Now, 70% of teens say they use social media more than once a day compared with 34% six years ago; 38% say they are on social media multiple times an hour, and 16% say they use it almost constantly.
“The good news is [teens] are much more aware of its impact—both the good and the bad—than they were a few years ago,” said Jim Steyer, Common Sense chief executive, in an interview. “The bad news is they prefer to communicate with each other online rather than face to face. As a parent and educator, I find that very troubling.” …
“These updated estimates of teens’ social-media use are helpful because they show how common it is for teens to be checking social media several times per hour or per day,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky, a University of Michigan assistant professor of pediatrics, who specializes in developmental and behavioral health.
That is significant, she said, in light of a July article in the Journal of the American Medical Association that suggested a link between heavy media use—including frequently checking social media—and the emergence in teens of symptoms of attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder.
She said there have also been recent reports of rising ADHD rates in U.S. children. “That’s only one study so far,” Dr. Radesky said, “but I think it shows that we need to dig deeper into how the frequent split attention, instant gratification and emotional arousal that stem from media use might be influencing teens’ thinking processes.”
(Excerpted from The Wall Street Journal, reporting by Betsy Morris.)