Growing up in an online “look at me” generation: Is it good or b - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Growing up in an online “look at me” generation: Is it good or bad for kids?

Posted: Updated:

For many teens today, social media has become an online diary where teens publish pictures of themselves doing everyday things like going shopping or eating lunch. That behavior is prompting some experts to wonder what this "look at me" mentality is really doing to our kids.

The average teenage account holder on Instagram has more than 100 followers.  With numbers like that it's easy to see how some teens could start to feel like mini-celebrities with their own online "fan base."

The kids we found said most of their friends try to keep a level head when it comes to social media but most don't go a day without checking in. 

"I have some friends who have a ridiculous amount of followers and that's all they care about," said 14-year-old Ken Shew.

"It plays a big role when I'm bored on my phone. That's pretty much all I do is get on Instagram and stuff," said 12-year-old Caroline Shew.

"It's something that I do a lot...often, like everyday I'm on it," said 14-year-old Christian Crain.

"A lot of times I hear people say ‘She's really pretty in that picture' and I want to be pretty, so they want to take more and more pictures to see how much prettier they can be," said 12-year-old Abby Davis.

"I guess it kind of helps your self-esteem a little bit. Just knowing that people want to see what you're doing and want to follow you," said 14-year-old Mason Davis.

That isn't a bad thing according to Dr. Brandi Whitaker, a child psychologist at Arkansas Children's Hospital.  New research shows kids can gain a sense of belonging and community from being a part of social media.

"Some of the things that the research is showing is that kids who have these online networks are learning these skills that are helpful in other areas of their life," said Dr. Whitaker. "They're learning how to communicate. They're feeling more confident with sort of marketing themselves and being able to put themselves out there. But that's one aspect of their life.  So, that's sort of their online self. They still have their identity at school. They still have their identity with their friends and it's really an opportunity for parents to help teach them."

For the experience to be a positive, Dr. Whitaker said it's critical for moms and dads to monitor everything in their children's online life.  Tammie Davis, a mother of two, is trying to do just that.  She follows her children's Instagram pages and she has her own faith-based, family Facebook page that she uses to encourage others.

"I will say that we pray for our kids.  We try to model behavior that we want to see in our kids and technology is going to be tough to keep up with.  There's something new every day and just when I think I've got this social media or this app figured out, they come up with something new that our kids generally find out way before we do," said Tammie. "So it's tough to stay one step ahead, but I think the most important thing we can do is to have that constant communication with our kids."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Police warn parents about criminal consequences of kids "sexting"

    Police warn parents about criminal consequences of kids "sexting"

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:09 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:09:53 GMT
    JACKSONVILLE (KATV) - Hormones run rampant in teens – it’s why the concept of sending lewd photos to one another seems so natural to them. But do they know that doing that can land them in some hot water?  More >>
    JACKSONVILLE (KATV) - Hormones run rampant in teens – it’s why the concept of sending lewd photos to one another seems so natural to them. But do they know that doing that can land them in some hot water?  More >>
  • Stolen Home

    Stolen Home

    Stolen Home

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 8:14 PM EDT2014-04-23 00:14:57 GMT

    One Lonoke County woman's dream of home ownership didn't last long.  She is facing eviction amidst allegations that her home is stolen.

    More >>

    One Lonoke County woman's dream of home ownership didn't last long.  She is facing eviction amidst allegations that her home is stolen.

    More >>
  • DHS revokes Bryant daycare license after 8-month old infant dragged across carpet

    DHS revokes Bryant daycare license after 8-month old infant dragged across carpet

    DHS revokes Bryant daycare license after 8-month old infant dragged across carpet

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:43:59 GMT
    BRYANT (KATV)--A Bryant daycare owner has her license revoked after one of her employees allegedly dragged an 8-month old infant across the carpet. We first reported this story back in February when surveillance video showed the employee dragging the infant by the leg. Shortly after this incident, the Department of Human Services investigated further and revoked the owner's license closing the Wisdom Tree Learning Academy's doors for good. Coats is facing one count of endangering the welfare ...More >>
    BRYANT (KATV)--A Bryant daycare owner has her license revoked after one of her employees allegedly dragged an 8-month old infant across the carpet. We first reported this story back in February when surveillance video showed the employee dragging the infant by the leg. Shortly after this incident, the Department of Human Services investigated further and revoked the owner's license closing the Wisdom Tree Learning Academy's doors for good. Coats is facing one count of endangering the welfare ...More >>