Social Media Alternatives Promote Connection for Youth

Posted by on May 11, 2020 | Comments Off on Social Media Alternatives Promote Connection for Youth

Social Media Alternatives Promote Connection for Youth

Ophelia’s Place knows that social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter play a key role in how young people stay in touch with others and help them meet a basic need for human connection. Friends, family, social groups, and community groups are all part of how people fulfill these social needs, so it’s no surprise that young people view social media as a necessary tool to connect with others; one study shows that 13 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds and 63 percent of 13- to 18-year-olds use it every day.

However, OP recognizes that not all youth use social media daily or have active accounts. In fact, OP staff often talk to young people who have never used it, but there are other ways for them to remain socially connected. For youth who don’t use social media (or even just for those who need a break), it’s still important to maintain personal connections; there are a number of other options that promote togetherness.

Video calls

Encourage youth to see their friends and family through video chats. There are a number of services available for free download including Zoom, Houseparty, and Skype. Google Hangouts is another free, web-based service.  

Watch a movie together via Netflix Party

Watch movies in sync with friends and family, and stay connected while the film is playing by using the chat function. Don’t have Netflix? Watch a movie through a video call (or even a phone call) and count down pressing play together. Make a game of it: try muting the movie and making up the dialogue as it plays!

Online gaming

Online video games typically have a built-in chat feature and players can work together as a team during gameplay. This is another excellent way for young people to interact with each other, as long as healthy boundaries about online gaming are established in advance and interactions remain friendly!

Use Google Docs

Many students use Google to access their classes, so it may be convenient to use what they already have. Use a Google Doc to write stories together and use the draw feature to create images: Try playing One-Sentence Story or Pictionary!

Offline social connection

While school districts are providing devices to students for virtual learning, we must acknowledge that some young people will encounter barriers such as: not having a personal device; living in a remote location; and limited, faulty, or no internet access. Other times, young people may want or need to take a break from their screens. Youth can still find ways to connect offline by:

  • Making phone calls
  • Writing letters – consider writing to residents of a nursing home, or frontline workers
  • Leaving kind notes for neighbors
  • Giving uplifting messages to family/household members
  • Delivering cards or handmade crafts to friends/family that live nearby (while maintaining a 6-foot distance)

If you have found additional ways to help the youth in your life stay socially connected, we would love to hear from you! And for more ways to support youth, connect with Ophelia’s Place on Facebook & Instagram, or email info@opheliasplace.net.