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Social Media and Your Teen

While social media can be a roller coaster for teen and their parents, a new study shows that teens gain a lot from its positive use.

Matt Levinson, Head of School

We all know that social media can be a bit of a roller coaster for both teens and their parents. And as we head into Winter Break, many teens are likely to increase their online presence. A new study by Emily Weinstein shows that teens do in fact gain a lot from positive social media use. The study highlights that teens use social media for four major reasons:

  1. Identity expression
  2. Relational interaction
  3. Exploration
  4. Browsing

One of the challenges for parents is how to help teens balance their use of social media. An outright ban is often not the best approach to take: “Just cutting teens off from social media entirely may not be the best solution, since that will likely cut them off from positive experiences as well.”

And, as a parent, getting on the roller coaster ride with teens can lead to frustration, worry, uncertainty, and fear. One helpful entry point is to find an area of common interest in social media to explore together. Perhaps it’s around finding new recipes for a family meal, a new hike or outdoor area to explore, or another activity that does not in itself involve the use of social media.

Emily Weinstein has also developed several online learning modules with Common Sense Media to help parents navigate life with their teens and social media, so you might want to consult those for further guidance. And remember, we are partners with you in this journey, so don't hesitate to ask any of the dedicated educators at UPrep for advice on any sticking points!

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