Despite bad press for its role in cyber-bullying, social media can also make teens more aware of what other people go through.
More than half the teenagers (55%) surveyed in a recent poll say social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have made them more aware of the needs of others. This is an increase from 2011 when the same question was asked, and 44% said their use of social media made them more aware.
The survey of teens aged 13 to 17 was undertaken by the World Vision 30 Hour Famine (in the US), which has almost 30,000 Facebook friends.
“It’s exciting to see our youth using the tools at their fingertips, like social media, to have a direct impact on the world,” said Michele Tvedt, World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine Manager.
As part of the same survey, teenagers were also asked if they believed the benefits of social media outweighed the risks. More than 2 in 3 (68%) said yes.
Researchers are also investigating how social media sites can be used to help adolescents, such as in our recent story on how blogging can be helpful for teens with social anxiety.