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On the Radar: Teens’ Views on Video Games, Social Media Impact on Streaming and Why Kids Reject Mom’s Advice

Teens Know the Pros and Cons of Video Gaming

What? A recent survey from Pew Research found that teens are very aware of the cons of gaming. Forty-one percent admitted gaming has interfered with sleep, and 80% say bullying is a problem in online games.

So What? Although teenagers are less likely to admit they spend too much time gaming (only 14% felt they should cut back), recognizing how video games affect them negatively demonstrates a maturity that may help them to reduce playtime if the problem worsens.

Now What? Parents should talk to their kids if gaming is affecting their sleep (teenagers need 8-10 hours each night). And bullying and other forms of online harassment should always be reported. But if you’re worried your teen is playing games too much, consider some of the pros of gaming, too: 56% of those surveyed said video games have improved their problem-solving skills; 47% have made friends through online gaming; and 32% said it helped with their mental health (the majority said it neither helped nor hurt their mental health).

Social Media Influences Teenagers’ Entertainment Choices

What? A new report put together by Emarketer found that 45% of Gen Zers choose what to watch on streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Disney+, based upon what’s trending on social media.

So What? Although social media platforms (namely Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat) remain the preferred choice of video entertainment for teens, 59% of American teenagers will watch a show or movie on a streaming site after hearing an online creator talk about it.

Now What? Choosing to watch a show because an influencer liked it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But in an age when kids are so heavily influenced not just by their peers but by the online world as well, parents need to remain vigilant about those entertainment choices. In addition to movies, Plugged In also reviews TV shows, books, video games and music—all of which are heavily influenced by social media trends. And if you haven’t done so already, take the time to set up parental controls on your streaming platforms (Plugged In has tutorials for all the major streamers).

Kids Who Reject Mom’s Advice Can Still Cope

What? Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign tested fifth-grade students and their mothers to see how the adolescents responded to advice about school.

So What? Although some children rejected the suggestions and others “reacted to their mother’s advice with ambiguous statements such as ‘maybe’ or ‘I don’t know,” a follow-up the next year suggested that many of the now-tweens had adopted the advice in subsequent instances.

Now What? An eyeroll. A sigh of derision. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” These can all be discouraging to parents trying to help their child achieve academically. However, this new research should encourage moms and dads to keep trying. Your kids may not always like your advice—and it’s possible your suggestion wouldn’t work in certain situations—but by continuing to talk to them and help them work through problems, you’re modeling important problem-solving skills for them to internalize.

Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.

4 Responses

  1. “…recognizing how video games affect them negatively demonstrates a maturity that may help them to reduce playtime if the problem worsens.”

    That’s very true. There are two reasons why not all kids have this level of maturity. The first reason is that not all kids understand what maturity is. The second and more troubling reason is that a lot of kids see maturity as a liability instead of an asset. They notice kids who are more mature than they are, but do they respect those kids? Probably not. They equate maturity with being a buzzkill, a chicken, a chump, a doormat, a fuddy-duddy, a mama’s boy, a nerd, a pansy, a prude, a robot, a stick-in-the-mud. In their eyes, strength is everything. Forget about being smart, forget about trying to please people older than you are, forget about having manners or civility or decency, forget about obeying the law, forget about doing what’s right, you gotta be strong. And the ultimate example of strength is openly defying and/or disrespecting adults. If you obey and respect adults, then that’s the ultimate example of caving in, of giving up, of playing the victim, of wimping out.

    The truth is, some of the supposedly “weakest” kids in the world end up doing really amazing things, while the “strongest” kids all too often end up in handcuffs, in the emergency room, or in black bags.

    1. Yep. When I was younger, I used to be dismissed by my peers for having “excessively high” purity standards, and when I got older, too many churches treated those same manners as being excessively servile to corrupt American culture instead of being ‘loud’ and ‘strong’ and ‘pushing back’ against postmodernism. Too many churches are giving these exact messages, often framing this in the guise of ‘reclaiming masculinity’ or whatever.

      1. I can understand your peers ridiculing you for having high purity standards, but I am shocked that there are churches who would consider you to be “excessively servile” because of those standards. I would have thought the churches would be on your side.

        Another thing that we need to do is help kids understand what real injustice is. Specifically, we need to help kids understand the difference between those who took a stand against true unfairness, like Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, and those who saw unfairness where there was none, like Mark Kinney in the Lois Duncan novel “Killing Mr. Griffin”. When a immature person points out someone who is, in their eyes, too cowardly to join them in standing up to someone else’s unfairness, a mature person will point to that same person and commend them for being intelligent enough not to fight a battle that cannot be won, that does not need to be fought, and will only make things worse instead of better.