Teens on being tethered to their phones and social media

HARI SREENIVASAN: Next: to another in our Brief But Spectacular series. This week, we asked a handful of eighth-graders from a public school in Los Angeles about technology, what they use, and whether they could survive without it.

STUDENT: No, I do not use Facebook.

STUDENT: I know it as, like, a parent social media kind of thing.

STUDENT: Like, my grandma, my aunts are on Facebook.

STUDENT: Like, that was the first thing to come out, Facebook. It's, like, after Instagram and all that came out, we wanted to get the newer thing.

STUDENT: I use my phone for everything.

STUDENT: Instagram and Snapchat.

STUDENT: I either go on Snapchat or I'm on Instagram.

STUDENT: I do use Uber.

STUDENT: I'm on Snapchat and Instagram a lot.

STUDENT: I use Instagram to post pictures that I feel, like, pretty confident about.

STUDENT: I usually get above 100 likes.

STUDENT: I don't know, probably about 130.

STUDENT: In the 200s.

STUDENT: Maybe like 74.

STUDENT: When a friend doesn't like my photo, I'm just like, like my photo.

QUESTION: You tell them to like it?

STUDENT: Yes.

STUDENT: My mom, sometimes, she wants me to, like, go outside and, like, get some fresh air.

STUDENT: They are taking away my chargers. They say that I'm going to go crazy because I spend too much time on my phone.

STUDENT: You're wasting your time, frying your brain on that screen.

STUDENT: Yes, I can imagine going a few days without going with technology, because then I would just be outside working out and getting better at sports.

STUDENT: I really don't think that I can imagine a world without technology.

STUDENT: I have got to think about that. I don't know what to do then.

STUDENT: My parents are always like, yes, when I was growing up, we had to play outside and we never had phones.

STUDENT: But I think they were more close with their friends and family. They didn't have, like, an excuse to be on their phone at the dinner table. There was no phones at the dinner table.

STUDENT: What does worry me about technology is people like cyber-bullying.

STUDENT: People are called names when they try to speak their mind.

STUDENT: There's always people that are going to hate on you. But you should just concentrate on the people that like your stuff.

QUESTION: Do you know all the people who are liking your photo?

STUDENT: I know probably 80 to 90 percent of the people who are liking my photos.

STUDENT: Before I have met somebody, I have seen their Instagrams and see how they look and see how they, like, kind of act and how they perceive themselves. And so, without that, I really just don't know how I would, like, I don't know, see people or get to know people.

STUDENT: This is my Brief But Spectacular take.

STUDENT: And this is my Brief But Spectacular take.

STUDENT: On technology.

STUDENT: On being a teenager.

STUDENT: On what the technology means to me.

QUESTION: And anything else you want to say?

STUDENT: Follow me on Instagram.

STUDENT: That was pretty easy.

(LAUGHTER)

HARI SREENIVASAN: You can find more Brief But Spectacular videos online at pbs.org/newshour/brief.

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