A lot of research has been done in to digital media and problematic usage. Apart from all the amazing things that digital and social media can do, perhaps there is a limit and once this is exceeded problems start to arise. Some problems are minor and down to personal preference, other problems are slightly more serious and potentially health hazardous (Raising Children Network 2013).

Digital media could be affecting our relationships more than we realise. Dinner time was once classed as ‘family time’ and now it seems acceptable to have our phones with us whilst we are eating. We find ourselves not paying attention to the things that are going on around us because we are so absorbed in our digital media world. We begin to prioritise responding to texts or other social media over essentials such as sleep, studies or workloads.

Is digital media causing increased loneliness? Are we in fact isolating ourselves and hiding behind our online personas? We have all these friends online, but many people are finding it increasingly difficult when placed in a real life social situation. Ironically many people often go to online to seek to avoid loneliness but is all this online activity potentially making us become detached from reality and ultimately less competent. Are we now shaping our behaviour on social media simply just to get a response… (Pilkington 2013).

Could using social media from such a young age be affecting the personality of teens? Those who tend to use social media excessively can be linked to show neuroticism personality traits. This means they can tend to be anxious, temperamental and irritable (Penderson 2015). When teenagers reach the age of 17 they are able to learn to drive. Any kind of distraction when driving can be dangerous. Using any digital media whist driving is dangerous because it’s taking your attention away from the road. In 2011, 13% of drivers ages 18-20 who were in involved in a car accident admitted to using their mobile at the time of the crash (Marino 2012).

Text messaging makes a crash up to 23x more likey to happen!

Another example of where digital media can be influencing teenagers negativly is when it comes to things such as body image and self esteem. If teenage girls are repeatedly seeing ‘thin’ body types and beauty messages on the internet, it is likely to have a direct impact on their body image and dieting behaviour (Raising Children Network 2013).

A problem taking its toll is teenagers taking mobile phones to bed. As well as lack of sleep and insomnia it can also be related to other health problems such as hypo-vigilance. Studies show that the longer a teen spends on a digital divide throughout the day before bed the worse quality sleep they are likely to have. “A study of teenagers found that those who used a computer in the hour before bedtime were nearly three times as likely to get less than five hours sleep” (Knapton 2015).


KNAPTON, S., 2015. Banish smartphones and computers from bedroom to get a good sleep, says scientists. [online]. Telegraph Media Group Limited 2015. Available from: [Accessed 30 April 2015].

MARINO, K., 2012. DWI: Driving while intexticated- Infographic. [online]. 1997-2015 QuinStreet Inc. Available from: [Accessed 29 April 2015].

PENDERSON, S., 2015. Why use social media? Part 1, BS1288. [PowerPoint presentation]. Why use social media? Part 1. Digital Media Platforms and Practices. The Robert Gordon University, Department of Communication, Marketing and Media, room FOM 224, 20 February.

PILKINGTON, A., 2013. Is social media making us lonely? What would Proust say? [online]. 28 August 2013. Available from: [Accessed 29 April 2015].

RAISING CHILDREN NETWORK., 2013. Teenagers and mobile phones. [online]. 2006-2015 Raising Children Network (Australia) Limited. Available from: [Accessed 29 April 2015].


There are some obvious benefits of teenagers using digital media. It allows them to be contactable, making parents feel at ease that they are only a phone call away. It’s great for keeping in touch with friends and family, as people grow older and their lives change they can tend to drift apart. Social media means that you can communicate with all over the world and gives teenagers a exposure to a wider diverse of people from different backgrounds (Raising children network 2013).

There is lots of talk about how being online is bad for teenagers. In fact the internet actually displays lots of positive role models for teenagers, helping them feel inspired and motivated. Social media is now used by politicians to help target a different bracket of people, this is great for teens because it will  familiarise them with political and social issues that they might not have been aware of before (Raising children network 2013).

Digital media can help develop skills such as reading, writing and critical thinking, through online discussions groups. It also gives teens, who might be in a less fortunate family situation, help with their homework and the opportunity to contact teachers out of school (Chamberlain 2007). Teenagers can use the internet as a way of sharing ideas and enhancing creativity. It gives them the opportunity to expand their ability and promote something that they believe in (Niemer 2012).

Many use the internet to be able to express their true feelings, it’s a place they can vent and relieve all their frustrations. Whilst others use it like an online dairy, a private space full of memories and personal experiences. This is done through the use of blogs and other types of online journals (Penderson 2015).

The internet is now used as an effective marketing tool, with employers now using social media more than ever to help support and promote businesses. Its’s especially good for small business’s cause it gives them the chance to try and establish a name and brand for themselves with very little costs involved. It gives the smaller business the chance to compete, providing they have a solid strategy and a smooth online journey, without having to pay out for large costs for advertising space (Robbo75 2013). This is a great gateway for any teenage budding entrepreneurs who have grown up in the digital world.

Being online also helps reduce costs, this includes the costs to produce and deliver goods. Ignorance to being online can form costly barriers. One example of this is online banking, if teenagers choose to receive their statements online they will no longer receive a paper copy sent through the post. This saves costs on both materials and postage and means that they have 24/7 access to their funds through the app or website. This allows for easy money management and the quick transfer of funds helping to reduce the chance of missing payments (Penderson 2015). Also thanks to the cloud there is less need for the physical formats we normally use to store our movies, music and other media on, reducing the amount of factories we need to produce them.


CHAMBERLAIN, C., 2007. Benefits for online interaction for teens outweigh the dangers, professor says. [online]. University of Illinois. Available from: [Accessed 30 April 2015].

NIEMER, E., 2012. Teenagers and social media. [online]. 16 August 2012. Available from: [Accessed 30 April].

PENDERSON, S., 2015. Why use social media? Part 2, BS1288. [PowerPoint presentation]. Why use social media? Part 2. Digital Media Platforms and Practices. The Robert Gordon University, Department of Communication, Marketing and Media, room FOM 224, 27 February.

PENDERSON, S., 2015. Barriers to access, BS1288. [PowerPoint presentation]. Barriers to accessDigital Media Platforms and Practices. The Robert Gordon University, Department of Communication, Marketing and Media, room FOM 224, 6 March.

RAISING CHILDREN NETWORK., 2013. Benefits of media for children and teenagers[online]. 2006-2015 Raising Children Network (Australia) Limited. Available from: [Accessed 29 April 2015].

ROBBO75., 2013. 10 Benefits of Digital Marketing v. Traditional Marketing. [online]. 7 April 2013. Available from: [Accessed 30 April 2015].

Online Identities

Digital media presents the opportunity for individuals to experiment with identity. When an individual reaches the stage of adolescence this is usually a time of self discovery and constructing an identity. Adolescence is the stage from childhood to adulthood. It typically describes the teenage years from 13-19 (Psychology today 2015).

Adolescence is a difficult age full of questions, queries and the need for self establishment. As a result of things like social media, teenagers are able to enter in to different forums and explore who they are, learning about their likes and dislikes. Through this self discovery, individuals can grow and become empowered (Penderson 2015).

Being online allows teenagers to explore their identities and exhibit their insecurities anonymously.  It’s a space where they can hide or mask their negative aspects and become a ‘better’ version of themselves.  Changing identity online is more common than you might think, with around 50% having done it. This is probably because there is fewer social repercussions and less chance of victimisation experimenting online. (Penderson 2015).

In some cases people make up completely new or multiple online identities.  Being online gives you the ability to change and conceal things you might dislike about yourself and create a fantasy like identity. It allows teens to explore aspects they wouldn’t be able to if they were themselves such as; sexual identity or sexuality (Penderson 2015).

Having an online identity means that they have a controlled space separate from real life. One where they can find out about who they are without the judgement of others (Penderson 2015).

Problems can arise when individuals become too wrapped up in this fake controlled environment where all impressions are managed. They almost forget about the real world and become absorbed by what they wish they were.

Often when going through difficult times teenagers will retreat to the internet to seek friendship. it’s easy to meet new people online with similar interests and it can be a great way to boost self esteem. At such a vulnerable and influential age, teenagers can easily become attached to these online relationships and will eventually end up wanting to meet the person they’ve been speaking to. In some cases they become almost blinded by the attention they’ve been receiving and don’t realise they actually know very little about the person. Not everybody online is who they say they are;  meeting strangers can be a very dangerous situation  (SafetyNet 2015). With lack of life experience this can make teenagers naive to this assumption, it’s always important to check that a profile is legitimate. There are usually indications that someone might be using a fake profile, heres somethings to look out for:

  • email address
  • links on home page
  • spelling
  • timing of posts

(Penderson 2015)


PENDERSON, S., 2015. Identity online, BS1288. [PowerPoint presentation].  Identity online. Digital Media Platforms and Practices. The Robert Gordon University, Department of Communication, Marketing and Media, room FOM 224, 13 March.

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY., 2015. Adolescence: All about Adolescence. [online]. Sussex directories Inc. Available from: [Accessed 27 April 2015].

SAFETY NET., 2015. online safety. [online]. Safety Net Kids. Available from: [Accessed 5 April 2015].


Digital media can be a great tool when it comes to education. There are so many sites and online resources now available for learning and revision to help teenagers achieve the best grades they possibly can. There are sites specifically designed for teenage education which are usually easy to navigate and require minimal skills to use BBC Bitesize being a great example of this. It contains materials for almost every subject and has animations and colours to make dull subjects come to life. The site now adapts to whatever device you access it from, making it suitable for smartphones, therefore making on the go learning possible (Millner 2013).

Having access to the internet is great for teenagers cause they can have their questions answered within minutes, even seconds by doing research online. It’s a great source of information, with search engines such as Google and specifically Google Scholar it means data can be collected and organised  efficiently. Alerts can be set up for a specific topic, helping information to be gathered breaking out of filter bubbles. (Stewart 2015).

One thing that does need to be monitored is plagiarism as digital media does present the option to cut corners. It’s important for teens to recognise that the use of ‘copy and paste’ from sites such as wikipedia cannot be counted as their own work.

There are also courses available online that can help teens progress further in a certain area of interest and they can gain qualifications from them. Completing things such as online courses in your own time, shows dedication and commitment to learning and is something that will be recognised and favourable when it comes to employment. Learning how to use digital media and the software is something that will help teenagers not only now but in later life as well. Setting up exam or revision schedules will helps with the organisation of workload (Teens 2015). Knowing how to create and manage documents, will be a valuable skill when it comes to creating and distributing CV’s. Setting up and using E-mail accounts will be good practice for contacting employers and demonstrating professionalism towards other formal connections.

With GCSE’s and Higher’s being such a pivotal point in teenage life, as well as being useful, digital media can also be a distraction from studies (Teens 2015). Having a tab with Facebook up, receiving and responding to texts, online games, television can all make it harder to stay focused. On the country, social media can be used to facilitate learning, using sites such as Tweetdeck. This allows users to create and organise their own timelines using searches and filters. By using an existing account you can engage, follow and gather information on particular topics quickly and effectively (Stewart 2015).

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 12.32.58


BBC., 2015. Bitesize. [online]. 2015 BBC. Available from: [Accessed 27 April 2015].

MILLNER, J., 2013. Digestible BBC Bitesize on the go. [online]. 19 August 2013. Available from: [Accessed 27 April 2015].

STEWART, C., 2015. Searching for data online, BS1288. [PowerPoint presentation]. Searching for data online. Digital Media Platforms and Practices. The Robert Gordon University, Department of Communication, Marketing and Media, room FOM 116, 26 February.

Teens. 2015. [television]. London: Channel 4. 24 March.

Infographics- Teen truth’s

An Infographic is (Information graphic) is a mixture of data and design. They’re created to make data easily visually understandable. (Stewart 2015).

The following link will take you to an infographic that I created, showing some information on what else teens really get up to when their using social media.


Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 11.31.06


FERMAN, A., 2013. Alas! No Parental Lock. [online]. 10 April 2013. Available from: [Accessed 29 April 2015].

STEWART, C., 2015. Infographics, BS1288. [PowerPoint presentation]. Infographics. Digital Media Platforms and Practices. The Robert Gordon University, Department of Communication, Marketing and Media, Aberdeen Business School, room FOM 116, 12 March.

Social networking + Teenagers = ?

So heres the big one, social networking.

A social network is a platform which is used by making a personal profile to enter into a virtual community. Users can choose the privacy settings of their profiles (making them public, semi public or private) in relation to how much information is displayed and made viewable to others. Within this network users can communicate with others, both pre-existing friends and strangers, through online interactivity and display connections with other members of the community (Boyd 2014).

There is a wide variety of social platforms available today with Facebook being the most popular worldwide.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 17.33.47

Penderson (2015)

Social networking sites are mainly used for communicating with others. Its a place to share thoughts and express feelings via ‘status’ which can be updated at anytime. You can also communicate with each other via the use of direct messages, these are  hidden and only received by the person(s) they are sent to. Users are generally free to ‘comment’ upon any content which is posted to their feed. The feed is information posted by people that that user is connected with, also known as ‘friends’.  It’s also used for the sharing and storage of images and photos which can be uploaded online within seconds from most digital devices. Again the privacy settings can be adjusted on these images so users can decide who they chose to share these with.

Teen profiles on SNS and media-sharing platforms

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 13.23.48

Net children go mobile (2014)

Social media sites are brilliant for teenagers because they give them chance to express themselves and teach them IT skills. They can also be useful for teenagers under going group work at school as its quick and easy to share information and files in a group chat. They allow teenagers to connect with a broader spectrum of people, entities they might not come across in everyday life.

unfortunately its hard to control everything that does go on on these social media sites and sometimes people are expossed to content that isn’t acceptable for viewers of certain ages. Users have the option to report other harassing users or offensive images so that the site administrators can look into issues and attempt to prevent them. A ‘frape’ is a slag word created by combining the words ‘Facebook’ and ‘rape’. Its prank that is performed when somebody makes changes another persons profile without their consent. Frapes by nature are usually unexpected but funny posts, but on the occasion grapes can be hurtful (Phailure 2007).

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 13.04.49

Newzealand teachers council (2015)

So with so many platforms, each offering something slightly different, are teenagers using social networking excessively? Some people might even go as far as saying that perhaps teenagers could becoming addicted to social networking. some results showed that:

  • 5.2% of 1097 British teens surveyed had problems
  • 15.3% were at risk of problematic use

(Penderson 2015).


BOYD, D., 2014. What is Privacy? [online]. 1 September 2014. Available from: [Accessed 7 April 2015].

NET CHILDREN GO MOBILE., 2014. The UK report: A comparative report with findings from the UK 2010 survey by EU Kids Online. [online]. London: The London school of economics and political science. Available from: [Accessed 21 April 2015].

NEW ZEALAND TEACHERS COUNCIL., 2015. What is social media? [online]. New Zealand Teachers Council 2015. Available from: [Accessed 21 April 2015].

PENDERSON, S., 2015. How, when and where are we using Digital Media? [lecture]. Digital Media Platforms and Practices. The Robert Gordon University, Department of communication, marketing and media,  Aberdeen Business School, room FOM 224, 13 February.

PHAILURE., 2007. Frape. [online]. Urban dictionary. Available from: [Accessed 21 April 2015].

Teens. 2015. [television]. London: Channel 4. 24 March.

Holli’s Interview

I decided to conduct some primary research to find out first hand a little bit about teenagers and their digital media usage. Having a younger teenage sister had never been so ideal. In the following short clip you see myself interview my younger sister Holli aged 13 and ask her some basic questions about digital & social media.

If the video does not play please click the this link (Dawson 2015)

I chose to keep the interview short so that Holli didn’t feel either pressured or uncomfortable, and also so that she couldn’t start thinking ahead about questions or answers she might give in advance.

So what can we learn from this short clip. Holli shows a high dependancy on her phone stating that she spends around half her day on it, this is possibly a slight exaggeration however, it does indicate that she uses it more than regularly. It also draws attention to the decrease in use of family computers purely because of the capability of the smartphone.

In this particular case you can see that Holli is very relaxed about her privacy settings which some people might think is slightly alarming. It also shows she has witnessed and been exposed to online bullying highlighting that it definitely is still an ongoing issue. When she was talking about the issue however she didn’t seem in anyway affected by it, almost as if it was a common occurrence.

App is short for applications. Apps are single purpose software programs designed to carry out specific functions (Rouse 2011). Apps are easy to access and use, now when in the browser often it will try and navigate you to the app. When questioned about the internet holly said she doesn’t tend to browse but rather use the apps available. This could be limiting for her as by using the same apps over and over again she won’t get as broad spectrum on whats going on or other resources available to her.

Through out the interview Holli is relaxed an unfazed by the fact that she in being recorded. This is possibly because of the introduction of apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, which she refers to in the interview. These are a platform of social media that heavily consist of photographed or recorded content by the users.

One reassuring thing was when lastly questioned about websites she shouldn’t have been on Holli answered no. It’s at viewers digression as to know whether she answered ‘no’ because she was talking to me, and as family she thought she might get into trouble or just plainly for the fact the she genuinely, like many other teens, hasn’t been on an age restricted website.


DAWSON, G., 2015. Holli’s digital media interview. [online video]. 20 April. Available from: [Accessed 20 April 2015].

ROUSE, M., 2011. app. [online]. Tech target. Available from: [Accessed 20 April 2015].


Digital media can be used to build or shatter dreams. Unfortunately there are times when digital media is used in a negative way and there are consequences because of this. Cyberbullying, also known as online bullying, is when a child or teenager is harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, threatened or tormented using digital technology (Bullying statistics 2013).

Cyberbullying is difficult to combat because it can happen any time- 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Information can be distributed quickly and anonymously making it difficult to catch the person responsible and delete or recall the information. Because of this there is very little protection against cyberbullying as bullies are able to attack victims even when they’re alone in the comfort of their own home ( 2015).

Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying. However, because of such rapid changes in trends and teens media usage it makes it difficult to monitor. 80% of young people also believe they’re more likely to get away with bullying online than in real life (InRealLife 2013). This means that teens are more likely to use the internet to target people because of the lower risks associated with being caught.

So what happens when things get out of hand… Like any kind of bullying, cyberbullying can have some serious outcomes, in some cases resulting in death. Its being brought to our attention the seriousness of cyber bullying and the need to take action to prevent it with things like websites, campaigns, charities, hotlines and schools and parents making a stand. Only 1 in 10 victims will tell a parent or a trusted adult about the abuse. This can be for many reasons including: fear, embarrassment, shame, worry stress, anxiety or denial.

Unless something is done about cyberbullying effects can be detrimental on teenagers lives resulting in things such as: low self esteem, self harm, skipping school, drug or alcohol use & depression.
One well known extreme case of cyberbullying was the Amanda Todd story. In the following clip you see Amanda age 15 tell her story through the use of flashcards of how she was bullied tormented and pushed to breaking point. Amanda uploaded her video to youtube on the 7th September 2012 but sadly committed suicide just weeks after it was posted.

(Thesomebodytoknow 2012).

This story shows the power of the internet and shows how easily someone so young can be exposed an humiliated to the point that they feel the need to end their own life. It also highlights the loneliness that and desperation that some teenagers are secretly feeling.

The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey finds that 15% of high school students (grades 9-12) were electronically bullied in the past year (Centers for disease control and prevention 2014) .

If you or know anyone you know is being affected by online bullying there is help and support available. Simply click on the image below and it will take you to a website I personally found really useful:

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 00.29.49


BULLYING STATISTICS., 2013. Cyber bullying statistics. [online]. Bullying statistics. Available from: [Accessed 30 March 2015].

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION., 2014. Adolescent and School Health. [online]. Atlanta: USA.Gov. Available from: [Accessed 1 April 2015].

STOPBULLYING.GOV., 2015. What is Cyberbullying. [online]. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Available from: [Accessed 29 March 2015].

THESOMEBODYTOKNOW., 2012. My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm. [online video]. 7 September. Available from: [Accessed 1 April 2015].

Safety Online

There are steps that can be taken towards keeping teenagers safe online, but the fact of the matter is adults can’t constantly be stood looking over their kids shoulder watching what they’re getting up to every time they log on. I believe it is important however, that parents do promote and encourage online safety. I also think, that if technology is becoming such a big part of our lives, that it’s something teenagers should be educated thoroughly about in school; shown in depth how to apply filters, settings and theory about knowing who to trust online.

Online we (when using social media) have the ability to control our privacy settings regulating the amount of information that we choose to reveal about ourselves to the public. There is a worry that teenagers don’t realise the importance of withholding certain information and ending themselves up in danger unintentionally (Boyd and Marwick 2011).

It’s too easy when signing up for websites etc that when asked to supply your personal details e.g to supply your phone number or address, you do it without even a second thought not realising where this information could end up or who it might be accessible to. It’s almost second nature to ‘do as your told’ in a sense that when a website asks you to fill something in, you do so without thinking where this information is going.

Danah Boyd a well established Principle Researcher at Microsoft research believes that all teens have a sense of privacy and that adults today are too quick to judge the idea that they have rejected privacy as a value simply because of their participation on social media sites (Boyd and Marwick 2011).

It’s a good idea to turn on the firewall for your computers, especially on things such as family computers. A firewall is something that prevents malicious software and hackers from entering and attacking your computer. Small things like this can help with teen safety online cause it helps prevent exposure and unwanted connections being made without approval (Microsoft 2015).

It’s all too easy for someone to make a fake profile online or to use an ‘age restricted’ website. The documentary ‘InRealLife’ shows two young boys aged 15 and their addiction to porn websites. They speak about how, although they enjoy these websites and use them for pleasure they are negativly shaping the way they view and treat females. The law states that to be able to watch these websites you must be 18 years of age or older. A teenager would not be able to purchase a DVD containing adult content from a store without being challenged for proof of age but on a website most of them allow instant access or a simple tick of a box certifying that you of the required age and they let you straight on (Javid 2015).

Concern was expressed just days ago by Conservatives after a recent ChildLine poll revealed that a tenth of 12 to 13-year-olds were worried about being addicted to pornography. As a result of this and the amount of teenage pornography counselling sessions doubling within the last year they are pushing for porn websites to adopt age restriction controls or they will be shut down (Wanless 2015).

The internet is a great way of meeting new people and forming relationships. Teenagers are sometimes unaware of the dangers of meeting a stranger who they have met online. Something that will be discussed further within the blog is online identities. If you do end up meeting someone you have met online, you should always make sure you tell someone where you are going no matter what age you are. It’s always important to consider safety both online and offline. (SafetyNet 2015).


BOYD, D., 2014. What is Privacy? [online]. 1 September 2014. Available from: [Accessed 5 April 2015].

BOYD, D. and MARWICK, A., 2011. Social Privacy in Networked Publics: Teens Attitudes, Practices and Strategies. [online]. Available from: [Accessed 1 April 2015].

BOYD, D. and MARWICK, A., 2011. The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip and Bullying in Networked Publics. [online]. Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc. Available from: [Accessed 1 April 2015].

JAVID, S., 2015. Porn sites must have age checks, say Conservatives. [online]. BBC News. Available from: [Accessed 7 April 2015].

MICROSOFT., 2015. Understanding windows firewall settings. [online]. Seattle: 2015 Microsoft. Available from: [Accessed 1 April 2015].

SAFETY NET., 2015. online safety. [online]. Safety Net Kids. Available from: [Accessed 2 April 2015].

WANLESS, P., 2015. Porn sites must have age checks, say Conservatives. [online]. BBC News. Available from: [Accessed 7 April 2015].