I sat down with Mallory (age 18) on a snowy March afternoon in southern MN. Mallory is an exceptional hockey player, loves art, she’s great with kids (in full disclosure, she hangs out with Addison as her nanny quite a bit in the summertime) and seems to have all the qualities I want my daughter to grow up having. So here we go with her interview:
What social media platforms do you use the most?
- Instagram to see what other people do
- Snapchat to have conversations with friends
- Facebook to stay connected with adults and to invite people to my graduation party
- Facebook Messenger to have group chats with friends, because not all of my friends have iPhones and you can access messenger with your computer
What do you think the purpose of social media is?
To keep up with people I wouldn’t normally see.
In what ways has social media impacted your life in positive ways?
- Seeing where people have traveled and get inspiration from what they’ve done
- Connecting with people I’ve never met from potential colleges
- Getting to know her college hockey team via social media before heading off to play with them next fall
- Facebook Groups are huge way to connect – Mallory has joined one for incoming freshman for her new school
- To learn about upcoming concerts and getting invited to events
How many positive stories come across your newsfeed every day?
It’s hard to say, mine is generally positive.
Side note: as a social media marketer I found it fascinating that Mallory chooses not to follow any brands or celebrities. She only follows people she knows or has connected with either at camps or work.
How do you keep from feeling bad about yourself when scrolling the feeds?
My newsfeed is usually positive in nature and I’ve never been bullied. I know people who have been bullied but out of my 13 close friends, only 3 have had to deal with it.
After a bad hockey game though, I knew to stay off Facebook for about 20 hours so I wouldn’t have to be reminded of it and get upset.
Do you limit your time on social media?
When doing my homework I leave my phone in another room so I don’t get distracted.
What would you say to parents that are concerned about social media?
It’s not as bad as it seems. Most connections are positive. Cyber-bullying isn’t a big deal and it isn’t happening as much as everyone thinks.
Other tidbits Mallory thought we should know:
- Kids are starting Finstas (these are fake Instagram accounts, get it, f-insta). They only let their friends follow them and will sometimes post inappropriate things.
- More bullying happens on Twitter than any other platform.
- Snapchat Discover stories are super inappropriate
Middle school is the hardest for navigating social media because you want to be as good as your peers. Advice she shares for an incoming 6th grader:
- Don’t care about numbers
- Be careful with who follows you
- Delete icky comments and tell someone about it
- If you would never say something out loud don’t say it on social media
- REMEMBER — nobody posts bad things about themselves. Your not getting the full truth on social media
What to look forward to as an incoming 6th grader:
- Connections you’ll make
- Exciting to see what people are doing and finding inspiration for art projects, good books to read and other hobbies
And since I love to end all my interviews on a positive note I asked Mallory what she loves most about social media and technology – her answer was quite practical. She loves that she doesn’t have to carry around notebooks, her iPad that she uses for school saves paper and allows her to always be up to date with homework and other assignments. As far as social media is concerned, she likes being able to stay connected with friends and family!