The average teen spends 7 ½ hours a day consuming media.
That’s 7 ½ hours on your phone or on your laptop or on your old iPod. Our generation takes a lot of hate for that number. It’s true that we do spend a lot of time fixated on our phones, scrolling through Instagram or checking Snapchat. It’s true we like to have our phones with us at all times and may freak out if we lose it or forget it somewhere. I’m not speaking for everybody, but I know that I am guilty of doing these things.
I am part of Generation Internet, but I’m proud of that.
There is a stigma around teens and how we are obsessed with our phones and the Internet. Some say it is a terrible thing. Sure, there are definitely some things about this obsession that may not be the best, but I don’t think it’s all bad. I am standing up for everybody who spends 7 ½ hours a day consuming media and tell you why it isn’t the worst thing in the world.
With cellphones, we really do have the world at our fingertips. My phone helps me stay connected with my friends and keep connected to the world. I can see news stories on Buzzfeed or read a very opinionated article on a news topic on Tumblr. I think I have a good grasp on what is happening around the world and lots of my peers do as well.
In social class we talk about current events for entire periods because most kids have some awareness of the news and have an opinion about it. Even kids who are not aware of a certain event can quickly access the information on their phone and get caught up.
Teens may not be watching the evening news on television, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to know what’s happening in the world.
While I really do love knowing the daily news, the main reason I am on my phone is to talk to my friends. Between texting and Snapchat and Instagram I have many ways to keep connected with my closest friends. I know there are downsides and constant communication isn’t the best for some people, but it’s also becoming the new normal. It’s hard for our parents to understand because it’s a very different level of communication than they had when they were teens.
I think these additional connections can strengthen our friendships. We aren’t limited to just talking in the 40 minute lunch hour or when we hang out on weekends. Even if we are just texting about the most random things we are still connecting. It allows us to get to know each other better.
We aren’t replacing social interactions with technology; we are using technology to help us to build stronger friendships.
So, 7 ½ hours a day on my phone does have positive outcomes. I’m actually obtaining some useful information and building stronger friendships with some of the people who mean the most to me. Yes, there is some Netflix binge watching in there. But thanks to all the time spent online and using technology, at least I have the sense to move the cursor off the play button when I watch a video, which is more than my parents and teachers can say.