Unfriended: Teens losing presence on social media

Local teen unplugs from social media

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) – A majority of teens can’t keep their hands off their smartphones. According to a study done in 2015 by the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of teens are on social media.

But what if a teen decides to opt out and ditch Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? A good number of teens are saying no to the online reality.

It’s a constant connection to the world, to your family, and your friends: social media. While many of your followers enjoy looking at your timeline or tweets, a local Virginia Beach teen said it’s a boring trend.

“I don’t care about how your dog looks, or what weird thing you are doing with your face with a filter or what food you are eating right now,” said Ashley Brody.

Ashley isn’t alone. According to the Pew Research Center, a good number teens are putting their phones down and are questioning the value of social media. Ashley said it just adds drama to her already stressful teenage life.

“I hear all the time about somebody at another table at lunch being like, 'OMG, did you hear what she said about this? Or the fight that he started because of this?' There’s things you could fight about that would be better, instead of a comment on a picture.”

Another reason Ashley stays off the sites is because she said she doesn’t feel like scrolling for hours on end.

“It would just be too much to keep up with it. The few things that I want to give my effort to, give me pleasure like reading or watching movies.”

While Ashley boycotts social media, her mother does not. Her father is in the military and her mom Rachel said it’s an easy way to connect with friends from other cities when you often move from town to town. But Rachel also said it can be a lot of work to keep up with.

“I would call it an addiction," Rachel said. "When you get up in the morning you check your phone, you check your watch to see what news is out there.”

Most teens have the same problem. They are constantly connected and not knowing how or when to stop. A guidance counselor with Norfolk Public Schools, Tracey Penny, said it even becomes a problem in the classroom.

“They are on social media so much that they are not used to having a conversation. They are used to typing a few words and leaving it at that, not having a conversation with a human being,” said Penny.

Ashley said she plans to stay off apps and focus on the friends in front of her, instead of in front of a screen.

“I like seeing people and experiencing them, and being near them and seeing their emotions,” she said.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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