Skip to ContentBack to top

Social Media Consumption and Digital Citizenship: ParenTalks

The fourth ParenTalks of the academic year examined a popular topic and common parent concern in this digital age: the impact of social media consumption and digital citizenship on adolescents.

For the first time in this series’ history, a St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) student joined the conversation to give parents real insights into today’s popular trends, what social networks students are on, how adolescents are staying safe while online, and much more.

In this session, Lisa Lipetz, teacher-librarian, and Luca Passero, Grade 12 student, joined regular ParenTalks expert, Dr. Mark Broussenko ’07, family physician and hospitalist, for the 60-minute event.

The conversation kicked off with a discussion about which social networks are popular among adolescents.

SMCS ParenTalks | Panellists talk about social media over a Zoom webcast

“The two most popular are Instagram and Snapchat, but also those two platforms offer a ton of things for the kids to do,” says Lipetz, based on what she sees and hears from students in the Odette Library Learning Commons daily, adding that the two platforms offer photo and video messaging, video feed, live feeds, reels, and more, all in one application.

Passero adds, “Everybody’s on TikTok, but I think the difference is that TikTok is used more for entertainment, but I think most people around my age do communicate through either Snapchat or Instagram.”

Problematic consumption and addiction issues were then brought up by panelists as a common concern.

“Any behaviour can create a negative pattern for its consumer – you can have biochemical addictions, you can have various forms of dependence on physical substances, but you can also have that on behaviours,” says Dr. Broussenko. “You can always stretch the line of are you addicted to sleep, are you addicted to shopping, are you addicted to online dating? You can expand that definition to be so encompassing that it loses any real clinical meaning.”

While these types of addictions do exist, in comparison to the vast population who use social media, according to Dr. Broussenko, it’s only going to pertain to a small number of people.

“What you want to be talking to is in which ways is this dysfunctional. In which ways does this social media use help my child and in which ways does it not help my child,” he adds.

Other topics discussed included: ‘real’ friends versus online friends, safety concerns and online predators, problematic influencers, digital footprints, and more.

Watch the full episode of ParenTalks: Supporting Your Son with Social Media and Digital Citizenship:

Related links:

More information on ParenTalks

Wellness at SMCS

Related Stories