Getting news from social media
Like many teenagers, Ella doesn’t regularly read the newspaper. Instead, she gets her news from social media. As such, she regularly shares stories with her Dad that she’s found on Snapchat or Buzzfeed. Occasionally, Ella shares a newspaper story or something from a magazine, but it’s usually something she’s seen shared on social media.
“It used to frustrate me because I’m a daily newspaper reader and listen to radio news. But what I’ve realised is we still talk about politics and world events, she’s just getting information about those things from different places,” he says. “During the BLM (Black Lives Matters) riots, she knew a lot more about what was going on than me, thanks to TikTok, and she was sending me videos that were really informative.”
Managing wellbeing with tech
Alongside news on social media, Ella regularly uses a range of apps that help her to manage her daily life. “I know she uses Calm and the breathing feature on her Apple Watch to help her relax. But more often than not, she relaxes by watching TikTok. The only problem is she tends to fall down a ‘TikTok hole’ and forgets about things she should be doing!”
Gary feels strongly that technology helps teenagers improve their wellbeing. “Of course, she sometimes sees things she wants to buy, or wishes she could go on holiday like this person, and we have to say no, but overall, I think social media is helping her to be social. Ella has moved schools a couple of times and we found that letting her use Snapchat and Instagram helped her to fit in with new friends, while still keeping in touch with older friends from where she used to live.”