“Just over a quarter (28%) indicated that they had a negative experience such as bullying, unwanted contact and the posting of inappropriate or distressing information being the most common”.
Using social media has its risks. Marilyn Price-Mitchell (PhD) reported her findings on these risks in “Inside The Digital Lives of Teens”. She found that overall teens experienced social media in a very positive manner. It had positive effects on their emotional well being, leading to increased confidence, improved social interactivity, more sympathy, less depression, less shyness and increased popularity. But 5% experience the media in a negative manner. She also discovered that despite the preconception that teens are “always texting” they do prefer face to face contact! And surprisingly they wished they could spend more time with their parents but felt that the parents spent too much time using social media. Larry Rosen (PhD) reported more negative findings such as young adults with a strong Facebook presence tended towards narcissism and antisocial tendencies and aggression. Overuse was identified as causing anxiety and depression. Excessive use of social media was also linked to poorer achievement at school. More recent work by Rosen documented in “Rewired: The Psychology of Technology” focused on “virtual empathy”. He has identified that real world empathy was 6 times more useful in making others feel supported, but spending more time on social media such as Facebook/Twitter increased the users virtual empathic ability, and high virtual empathy was the best predictor of real life empathy.