by Dustianne North, MSW Bay Area Symposium Hosted by Bay Area Mentoring,A division of Friends for Youth’s Mentoring Institute September 27, 2012
Learning Objectives• Gain insights into how California youth are utilizing social media• Consider how the prevalence of social media is affecting youth• Identify issues for mentor programs and mentors to consider, regarding the use of social media in mentoring relationships• Explore tips and recommendations for positive social media interactions with youth
Key Report: The following slides contain information provided byThe Adolescent Health Collaborative In their report entitled, “Impact of Social Media on Adolescent Behavioral Health in California.” www.californiateenhealth.org
Commonly used social mediaby teensType Example % Teens who use nationallyText messaging Cell phone feature 75% of all teens own a cell phone 88% of cell phone-owning teens text 72% of all teens use text messagingSocial Networking sites Facebook, MySpace 73% of online teens have used a social networking siteOnline video sites YouTube.com 63% of online teens watch online videosOnline gaming SecondLife.com 61% of online youth play games online, including multiplayer online gamesBlogging within social networking Facebook or MySpace feature 52% of online teens havesitesTeens, smartphones and texting: commented on a blog One in four teens own smartphones Most teens text 60-100 times per day 75% of homeless youth use social media 20% of teens don’t or cannot use landlines 39% of teens don’t use email – they prefer social network messages.
How is the use of socialmedia affecting youth development?
Benefits of social media use byyouth Extends existing friendships. Provides a supportive environment to explore romance, friendship, social status, and shared interests. Teens from lower income families are more likely to use online social networks than wealthier teens. Teens find support online that they may lack otherwise, especially marginalized groups (i.e. LGBTQ, illness/disability). A key source of information and advice, including health information about sensitive topics. Teens report gaining more independence and freedom via cell phones. Appreciate voice calling to seek out social support.
“Teens’ online risks match thosefaced offline”Online risks vary by - the type of risk - use of media - youth psychological makeupTeens most at risk are those who engage in risky behaviors offline as well.Adolescent Mental Health and Social Media:• Peer rejection and a lack of close friends are among the strongest predictors of depression and negative self-views.• Teens who use media heavily report getting into trouble often, more sadness, discontentment and boredom.• 68% of U.S. girls report having a negative experience on a social networking site, including fights on Facebook and “burn” pages for taunting or teasing others.
Risks of youth use of social media• Cyberbullying• Texting/Sexting• Adolescent Relationship Abuse• Online Sexual Solicitation and Predation• Privacy
Negative experienceson social mediaNegative experiences on social media:• 25% of social media teens have had an experience on a social network site that resulted in a face-to-face argument or confrontation with someone.• 22% have had an experience that ended their friendship with someone.• 13% have had an experience that caused a problem with their parents.• 13% have felt nervous about going to school the next day.• 8% have gotten into a physical fight with someone else because of something that happened on a social network site.• 6% have gotten in trouble at school because of an experience on a social network site. Source: Lenhart, A., Madden, M., et al. (2011). Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites.
Negative experienceson social media, cont’dBullying:• 9% of all teens have been bullied via text message in the last 12 months.• 8% say they have experienced some form of online bullying.• 7% say they have been bullied by voice calls over the phone.• Girls are much more likely than boys to report they had been bullied in various ways, except in-person bullying, which is about equal for boys and girls. Source: Lenhart, A., Madden, M., et al. (2011). Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites.
The Digital DivideThere has been a closing of the access gap for some populations using new technologies.• Teen internet access is highest among White teens with college-educated parents and household incomes above $50,000.• Black and Latino teens are now just as likely as White teens to create a social network profile.• The amount of time teens spend using media daily has risen sharply, especially among Blacks and Latinos.• Black and Latino youth are also the heaviest consumers of media content via the cell phone.• Rates of use is low for low-income, rural youth in California: • <10% own computers • Teens less likely to own their own cell phones.
Recommendations of ReportFor Parents and Caregivers:• Awareness• Engagement• Respect for privacy and empowerment“Discussing media content with teens is more effective than prohibiting access, in reducing the amount of personal information disclosed.”
Recommendations of ReportFor Community:• Technological solutions Internet providers and social networking sites need to keep working with parents and policy makers to develop safe technologies for teens.• Health providersMedical and mental health providers need to include routine screenings to assess risk for depression that consider a teen’s social media use.• Schoolsneed to update media literacy guidelines to include information on successful new media use, online risks, and education about laws that pertain to them.• Non profits need to maximize the opportunity to reach teens through social networking.• ResearchEvaluation research is needed on the success of social media-based interventions, particularly those focusing on urban and rural teens from low income families and those with poor home environments.
Key Questions:What are your general thoughts about whatwe just learned?What does this information mean formentors?What does it mean for mentoring programstaff?
Examples of Social Media useSome innovative campaigns by non-profit and government groups using socialnetworking websites to benefit teens and young adults:• Networks of teens who can spread the word to their peers about risky behaviors and positive choices• Websites that allow teens to upload their own photos/videos to create positive message ads.• Web resources for seeking information on healthy/responsible sexual lifestyles, including testimonials about lifestyle choices by teens and celebrities, and videos in Spanish (http://www.teensource.org).• National campaign to prevent relationship abuse, and “That’s Not Cool Callout Cards” (e-cards) that teens can send to friends and partners (www.Thatsnotcool.com).• A website where GLBT teens can find videos of other youth and individuals with encouraging messages about making it through the difficult teen years, especially regarding harassment and bullying (www.Itgetsbetter.org )
The use of social media in mentoring relationships
Benefits of Using Social Mediain Mentoring Programs• Face-to-face interaction is best, but connecting via social networking sites can enhance face-to-face relationships.• Communication can occur at anytime and anywhere (including campuses, libraries, homes, coffee shops, schools, and libraries).• Unique qualities of electronic communications, such as thoughtful responses.• Excellent way to enhance mentee’s writing, reading, and online skills.• Mentees may discuss subjects online that they are not always comfortable discussing in person.• Can help stay in touch when youth experience transiency• Online platforms sometimes provide insights into mentees’ needs, lives, interests, and concerns
Risks of Using Social Media inMentoring Programs• Greater risk of miscommunication, conflict, or hurt feelings between adults and youth.• Violations of privacy of mentors, mentees, program environment• Mentor misconduct, need for monitoring• Mentor-mentee boundary issuesWHAT OTHERS???
Tips, Tools andRecommendationsMaintain strong boundaries online: Consider having secondary profile for mentoring relationships Modify privacy settings so mentees cannot see photos and updates in which mentor is “tagged.” Consider preventing anyone besides already-established “friends” or “friends of friends” from viewing your profile picture Consider allowing only “friends” or “friends of friends” to send messages or friend requests Note that mentees’ parents/guardians may monitor your public profile
Tips, Tools andRecommendations, cont’dMentor programs may discuss privacy and safety on online forums: Create “group” pages that only invited members can join or view Scrutinize friend requests Mentoring organizations can create Facebook fan pages, blogs, or YouTube channels to connect with mentees rather than personal pages
Tips, Tools andRecommendations, cont’dMentors: assist/advise mentees about how to protecttheir own privacy: Monitor whether mentees are spending too much time online, especially in inappropriate chat rooms Remind mentees that once something is posted online (comments, photos), there is no way to “take it back.” Discuss importance of keeping passwords private Supplement parents’ advice for safety and privacy
Tips, Tools andRecommendations, cont’dTips for utilizing online video: Take video of activities with mentee and post online, showing you’re proud of them. Help youth produce their own videos, music recordings, etc. Teach youth how to effectively use online communication, and when not to. Video chat (Skype, Facetime) with mentees
Tips, Tools andRecommendations, cont’dTips for positive relationships within social media: Face-to-face interaction is best, but connecting online can nurture bonds Mentors can assist mentees with basic social and communication skills Mentors should consider how their use of social media can influence youth Be clear in your writing Maintain professionalism Keep records of communications Always reply Don’t engage in conflict with mentee online. Don’t multi-task when communicating online; focus on mentee. Ask mentees which methods of communication are best for reaching them; be available by methods that mentee uses most.
Tips, Tools andRecommendations, cont’dSpecific tips for corresponding: Remember that nonverbal cues are absent, so be mindful of written words Start message with friendly greetings Place or other relevant emoticons Rarely use all capital letters Read mentee’s messages carefully, ask questions for clarification Share websites that may be helpful to mentee
ResourcesPlease see handout for list of resources