American teenagers want to sign off from social media every so often.
We’ve been led to believe that teens are always on their phones or glued to some sort of screen.
But a study out Thursday shows that teenagers are better at monitoring their online lives than we thought. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey looked at how often and why teens step away from social media sites and platforms.
After talking to 790 teens between 13 and 17 years old last December, the researchers found that nearly 60 percent of teens have taken a break from social media. Half of the teens surveyed said their breaks last about a week or even longer. That’s an entire week of no snaps, or tweets, or video updates.
Although half the teens reported being forced offline by parents or because their phone and computer were broken or stolen, a solid 65 percent of teens who have taken a breather from the internet said they did so voluntarily.
Those stints away from Facebook and other sites apparently made them feel relieved and more connected to people IRL.
On the flip side, about 35 percent of teens surveyed said they have never taken a social media break. Why not? They said they were worried about missing out (FOMO is a powerful force) and being disconnected from friends. Others said they needed the social connection for school or extracurricular activities.
Many more findings were uncovered in the survey, such as boys tend to take longer breaks than girls and socio-economic status is correlated with the likelihood that teens will take a social media breather. (Lower income teens were more likely to take a break from social networks than wealthier teens, and for longer.)
Key takeaway: teenagers continue to surprise us, especially since they’ve been exposed to social media almost their entire lives. For older millennials and adults, what’s our excuse for never signing off?