By Katherine Segovia, Opinion Writer
Teens today are spending more time online than ever. CNN reported that teens spend nine hours a day using media, including social media, television, and video games. This has not always been an issue considering that, in the past, there was not as much media readily available. Today, we live in a world where everything is available right in our pockets, even on our cellphones.
While nine hours does seem like an excessive amount of time to be online, many people only look at the negative outcomes of teens online. However, there are positives as well – positives that not everyone can see right away.
One positive is an increase in confidence. Websites such as Facebook and Snapchat are inundated with selfies which are also the most frequent pictures on Instagram. The teen years are a time of great confusion and self-consciousness. Although it may be repetitive, it is not necessarily a bad thing that teens are building up the confidence to post selfie after selfie. A study conducted by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit child advocacy group, found that one in five teens believe that social media boosts their confidence.
The same study also found that social media could have social benefits for teenagers as well. Yes, online predators are still a danger, but it is important to monitor teen activity online and make sure they are staying safe. Other than that, being active and communicating online with their peers is a great way to keep in touch with friends and build social skills by making new friends.
The social aspect will likely come in handy as they grow older and start networking with potential employers through websites like LinkedIn. At that point, they will be more than familiar with the ways of the Internet and online interaction and will probably be more confident when emailing or interviewing for a position.
Because of how much time teens spend online, they are also becoming tech savvy and, for the most part, will know more about technology than their parents. Being technologically well-informed is an extremely important skill to have today.Most employers are looking for this and it goes beyond knowing intricate details about technology. More companies today are hiring people for positions requiring necesary knowledge to effectively use sites like Twitter and Facebook to manage the company’s social media accounts. The person applying does need to have more experience than simply using their personal social media accounts, but they will already be familiar with the websites due to prior use. When someone has a form of social media, they are portraying a desirable version of themselves that they want others to see. In a similar way, companies want people to do the same for their company or product. They want it to be portrayed in a positive light that will make consumers want to learn more.
Living and growing up in this Digital Age does have its negatives, but it is important to note that there are positives as well. Teens are the future and what they do online is simply preparing them for that future.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 7th print edition.
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