According to the Pew Research Center study, 24% of teenagers (ages 13–17) are online “almost constantly” which is facilitated by the proliferation of smartphones. Nearly 75% of teens have access to a smartphone and 30% have a basic phone. These phones and other mobile devices have become a primary driver of teen internet use: 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally and teens who don’t access the internet via mobile devices tend to go online less frequently. For the current generation of teens, gaming, video chatting, text messaging and social networking are a vital means of self-expression and a fundamental component of their social lives. Indeed, the digital age has changed—both positively and negatively—the way teenage friendships are formed and maintained.
This lesson provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to explore their current use of and perspective on technology, analyze the results of a recent study on teenagers, technology and friendships, learn more about some of the negative consequences like social isolation and cyberbullying and share the information they learn with each other.