Simply Insider
Leneita Fix

Leneita has been involved in youth or family ministry for over 24 years serving in rural, suburban and urban settings, camps, small and large churches and non-profits. She has authored or co-authored several youth ministry books, including Everybody’s Urban Understanding the Survival Mode of the Next Generation among others. Leneita is the ministry and training coordinator for BowDown Church, co-founded a coaching and training organization called Frontline Urban Resources (everybodysurban.org) and lives with her amazing husband John and four children in Florida.

Common Sense Media did a survey of over 1,000 13  to 17 year olds on how they are communicating these days.

They found:

90% have used social media.

Everyday: 68 % Text, 51% use social sites

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52% believe using social media and text helps their friendships and 32% believe it helps with family. Only 4% believe it has a negative effect on any of these relationships.

41% consider themselves “addicted” to their phones and 41% wish they could unplug (and 21% wish their parents would as well).

What really stood out to me was this portion of an infographic they shared:


Screenshot 2014-06-05 11.16.05


Do you see the pattern here?  Now I know this is not “ALL” students, but I think it’s interesting that such a high percentage want to talk face to face. They want the full attention of someone by being drawn into their world.

This is the first generation to have grown up with smart phones and tablets in their palms. And a younger and younger generation is discovering texting apps. I read an article recently that discussed the concern from sociologists that we are growing a generation that has never been forced to learn to communicate without technology.

I would say in personal interaction with students, they don’t always realize face to face is an option. They want to talk to a friend. They don’t drive and it’s complicated to get together to hang out.  Maybe they’re in the middle of homework, but they do want to “talk.” They text. Why would you try to make face to face happen?

Instagram continues to grow in popularity among the younger set. I wonder if talking in “pictures” gives the visual connection we long for?

Bottom line is that we have a generation in front of us that feels like they “have” to be connected all of  the time. Yet, most prefer to still have the old fashioned “hang out” with friends.

My kids have a time of day when we all power down. No phones allowed for anyone at the dinner table. This forces us to just be engaged as a family. Smart phones are allowed on family outings and vacations for photography purposes alone. AND they aren’t allowed to immediately post to Instagram. Take the picture, be with us, post later. Honestly, a shared data plan has worked wonders. There’s a lot they aren’t allowed to do until they can get to a WiFi signal which doesn’t exist everywhere.

I don’t think we have to treat social media and all things smart phone connected as evil. We just need to recognize our students like their devices, but they still really want to “TALK” that  “old fashioned way” as well.

What do you think?

– Leneita

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  • […] is interesting then in the results of a survey I read on the Simply Youth Ministry Blog. They referenced research done by Common Sense Media that asked 1,000 13 to 17 year olds how they […]

  • […] is interesting then in the results of a survey I read on the Simply Youth Ministry Blog. They referenced research done by Common Sense Media that asked 1,000 13 to 17 year olds how they […]

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