Meet Xenia, a junior at Northwestern University who leans into math and science, dutifully walks in her free time and gravitates toward introversion. Now a double major in English and philosophy at Johns Hopkins, meet Madeleine, her fraternal twin, who prefers reading and writing over sports and as a child was dubbed the school’s mayor by their father when he took a Saw while roaming around in the cafeteria. Second grade parent/child lunch. The girls get along, their personality differences allowing each to form an independent identity and protecting both from excessive rivalry.
Another way these twins differ? When they were in high school, Ksenia rejected all social media, the only girl in her grade, without Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Houseparty, and all the other social media sites on her phone. “I was never interested in it,” she told me. Madeleine, on the other hand, while not a devotee, relied on Snapchat to keep in touch with distant friends and used Instagram and other sites to stay on top of school gossip, fashion trends and entertainment news. Her father said, “interfering with technology is Madeleine’s university sport.”
Most teens would seem to be following Madeleine’s path. almost all teenagers used Smart phones in 2022, Pew Research Center informed of, and 53% of children in cities admitted to being online “almost constantly”. As far as social media goes, most teens are involved: TikTok is now the most preferred platform, used by 67% of 13-17 year olds, followed by Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, whose popularity has increased dramatically. markedly declined. At most research Excessive use of social media has been shown to undermine children’s mental health. a british Study Nearly one in 12,000 teens found that frequent social media use was associated with a lower sense of well-being, especially among girls who experienced cyberbullying or less sleep. social psychologist and author Jean Twengewho have found a link between excessive screen use and deteriorating mental health, plead guilty The former triggered the latter, given that depression and suicide rates among teens have increased since smartphones became ubiquitous.
Though far from a controlled lab experiment, twins who grew up in the same household and were separated from their phone use provide interesting insight into how Instagram and its ilk can enhance what’s already there. How the two adapted their social media patterns during college also reveals how the wider environment can shape its use.
In high school, Madeleine admitted for the first time that she was easily distracted and bored, as well as quickly losing things, including the phone she relied on to keep in touch with friends. “I leave my phone everywhere,” he told me. She wasn’t one to post photos often, a habit that annoyed some of her friends, but she did check Instagram and Snapchat once or twice a day, she said, for up to an hour in total. It was a far cry from many of the girls Madeleine knew, including some who spent six hours a day tracking their accounts, she said. She liked the way big stories on Instagram or Snapchat started conversations, and mentioned that a public brawl on YouTube between makeup artists affected her entire grade. What Madeleine enjoyed most, however, was how these platforms allowed her to stay connected with friends she had met in Australia during a student exchange program.