How the Internet Helps Improve Social Skills for Teens
According to statistics published in 2013 from the Pew Research Center, 95 percent of teens in the United States use the Internet. Of the teens who are online, 8 out of 10 of them report using some form of social media. With the majority of teens using a networking site -- the Pew numbers show that 77 percent of adolescents use Facebook -- the Internet is quickly becoming a key way for kids to improve social skills.
With the overwhelming abundance of teens who use social media, making connections with peers and classmates is easier than ever for contemporary kids. Although teens must always use caution when accepting "friend requests" or making other connections online, getting to know other kids from school through the use of the Internet can help the shy or isolated teen to become much more social. Unlike face-to-face meetings, which may feel uncomfortable for a teen who lacks social skills, Internet connections may afford the awkward-feeling high-schooler the ability to act in a more confident manner.
Messaging, chatting and other one-on-one and group conversations online can help the socially uncomfortable kid to open up and feel better about communicating. As long as your teen is only having conversations with other kids she already knows -- from school or the community -- she can practice the back and forth of effective communication in a low-stress environment. Without the added pressures of in-person communication, your teen may begin to feel a greater sense of comfort in having a discussion with her peers.
Finding other teens with similar interests can help your child to open up and feel more comfortable in his social circle. Social networking allows teens who aren't sure where they fit in or don't think other kids have the same likes can meet and communicate online with peers who have similar interests, career aspirations, music and more.
Emotional and Social Well-Being
Research from the organization Common Sense Media demonstrates that teens may believe social media can help them to overcome emotional issues such as shyness or a lack of self-esteem 1. According to the organization, 29 percent of teens report that using Internet social networking makes them feel less shy, and 20 percent claim it makes them more confident. Additionally, teens who use networking sites online may develop a greater understanding of others, as 19 percent of teens believe using social media makes them more sympathetic to others.
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