Sheila Jenca, Writing Teacher, The City School
AsapSCIENCE says of the seven billion people on the planet, six billion have a cellphone while only 4.5 billion have access to a working toilet. Children under 18 spend hours on social media while parents, teachers, and healthcare practitioners fear the effect this is having on a whole generation. “Common Sense Media finds that teenagers (ages 13-18) use an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day and that tweens (ages 8-12) use an average of six hours a day, not including time spent using media for school or homework” (Common Sense Media). This is the alarmist conversation we’re hearing consistently, but other educated voices see things differently. Richard Friedman, a psychiatrist from Cornell Medical School, reassures parents in a NY Times Op-Ed, “The Big Myth About Teenage Anxiety,” that kids are NOT being damaged by all the social media use. So who’s right? Maybe both. Social media is a labyrinth. Let’s start the conversation about what media use is about and find a way to ensure students are taking full advantage of all social media can offer without losing connections with other people, nature, and most importantly with themselves.