Adults Are Panicked About Teens and Social Media. These Girls Have Advice.

The New York Times posted this piece, by Sharon Attia, sharing adolescent girls’ own wisdom when it comes to their phones. The story is part of its “Being 13” project exploring teen girls’ lives in relation to social media: 

Psychologists suggest teenagers take social media breaks, and ask themselves as they scroll: “Do I feel bad about myself while looking at this?” Public health experts recommend “adult monitoring” and setting clear boundaries for when and where teens have access to their phones. The surgeon general wants parents to keep their child’s bedroom device-free for at least an hour before bedtime, and through the night. In Utah, lawmakers have determined that kids under 18 should not have access to TikTok or Instagram without parental permission.

Adults have been vocal about the effects of phone and social media use on adolescents, and how to best intervene to protect their mental health. Yet rarely are young people asked what they think might be constructive, or what they already do to build healthy habits. So we spoke to girls from ages 12 to 17 who have participated in programs led by Girls Leadership, a nonprofit that teaches confidence-building and how to use social media responsibly.

Here are some of their best pieces of advice for other teens — and what they want adults to know, too.

Teen-to-Teen Advice
You Don’t Have to Reply Right Away

Reminders to do your homework. DMs in every app. Multiple group chats blowing up. All of these notifications can feel endless and overwhelming. Niki Shiva, 17, from Hayward, Calif., said she sets her phone to ‘do not disturb for everyone except mom’ to mitigate her anxiety.”

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