(Thanks to the Cyberbullying Research Center. – Mike Tully)
It is easy for many adults – whether educators or parents – to focus on the negatives of social media in the lives of teens today. This is understandable, because they are the ones who have to deal with the fallout when adolescents make mistakes online (cyberbullying incidents, sexting cases, electronic dating violence, digital reputation drama, and similar forms of wrongdoing). Whether they are categorized as moments of youthful indiscretion or instances of intentional harm towards others, they do happen. And we are left to help those teens pick up the pieces and ideally find a redemptive silver lining in it all.
However, it is worth pointing out and highlighting the fact that the vast majority of kids are doing the right things when it comes to social media. For example, our recent research based on national data from Summer 2016 from found that only 12% of middle and high school students have cyberbullied others. That of course means that 88% have not! Most youth are interacting responsibly, productively, and in meaningful ways. They are meeting the social and relational needs that all individuals have, and some of it is actually keeping them going.