12-year-olds share their opinions of social media, and some are surprising

This video from WNYC explores the world of tweens and smartphones through the eyes of a group of 12 year-olds from New York City. Like tweens themselves, it is fascinating, a bit surprising, somewhat predictable and with its contradictions.

Watching this video together could be a great conversation starter with your kids and a great way to talk about their opinions of social media, and the positive and negative aspects of it. Check it out:

Do you know what struck me most of all as I watched this, especially towards the end?

How little some of the kids looked.

12-year-olds can seem adult one moment and chidlike the next, but in those adult moments, it’s very easy to forget that they are still very young. I appreciated the visual reminder that they are still just kids. Navigating the digital and social media worlds, which have both their benefits and detriments, is a daunting task for any age, but seems like a lot to handle at age 12.

I thought this video was fascinating for many reasons, including the difference in the amount of time that kids spend on their phones. It also illustrated that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all perfect way to handle kids and tech. The right approach varies by family and by kid.

Predictably, some kids professed their love for their phones and social media, but others offered  a different perspective.

One girl said, “I don’t want to get sucked into social media and the lies and gossip.” Another recognized, “Social media is not reality.”A third said he prefers to play outside.

Kids are all on their own timeline at the age of 12, and that is apparent if you watch them pour out of a middle school at dismissal time and if you watch this video.

The boy discussing his confusion at the friends spending all their time messaging girls really illustrated that fact. I suspect that his “What the heck?” has been echoed by parents far and wide.

The discussion of the bullying, especially on Instagram proves that this app is far more than just pretty pictures, and parents can find more on the app, and how kids are using it to hurt each other, here.

It is also important for parents to hear and to address with their kids, as is the judgment and negativity found on social media. If you are looking for guidance on how to talk with your kids about being kind online, consider Galit Breen’s new book, Kindness Wins.

This video is part of WNYC’s “Being 12: The year everything changes” and you can find the series in its entirety (including several really excellent articles) here.

You May Also Like: Kids are sharing personal info via Instagram – lots of it

Prior Post: Tempering the college admissions mania, which has reached junior high

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