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>>

  • One month after Timothy Buffington's escape from prison, his daughter speaks out

    One month after Timothy Buffington's escape from prison, his daughter speaks out

    Monday, July 21 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-07-21 23:38:15 GMT
    It was one month Monday since convicted murderer Timothy Buffington escaped from the state prison's Pine Bluff unit, and he still has not been found. Now, his daughter is speaking out about her father and the escape. More >>
    It was one month Monday since convicted murderer Timothy Buffington escaped from the state prison's Pine Bluff unit, and he still has not been found. Now, his daughter is speaking out about her father and the escape. More >>
  • Metro Radar

    Metro Radar

  • About 6,000 People Eligible For Degrees

    About 6,000 People Eligible For Degrees

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:12 AM EDT2014-07-22 09:12:56 GMT
    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas higher education leaders are searching for about 6,000 people in the state who have earned or almost earned their associate degree and don't know it.The Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges has launched a statewide campaign to locate nearly 6,000 people who have completed at least 75 percent of associate degree requirements. The Degree Matters campaign will try to locate people through direct mail, public service announcements and the degreematters.org w...More >>
    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas higher education leaders are searching for about 6,000 people in the state who have earned or almost earned their associate degree and don't know it.The Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges has launched a statewide campaign to locate nearly 6,000 people who have completed at least 75 percent of associate degree requirements. The Degree Matters campaign will try to locate people through direct mail, public service announcements and the degreematters.org w...More >>