‘Wake Up!’ One Teacher’s Experiment Reveals Troubling Truths About Teens and Social Media

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A junior high school science teacher decided to gather information about social media use by teens by going straight to the source. Skipper Coates asked her students to respond to a simple fill-in-the-blank prompt: “What my parents don’t know about social media is…” And the things she learned would leave most parents horrified.

Coates is a teacher at Pleasant Grove Junior High School in Utah. She decided to ask her students, mostly 14- and 15-year-olds, about their social media use, asking that they fill in the blank after the statement, “What my parents don’t know about social media is…”

Students were able to respond without providing their name on the answer, and Coates posted some of the results on Facebook on Thursday.

Coates wrote a comment about the responses she received, saying, “You guys. The answers were SICKENING. Heartbreaking. Depressing. Parents of the world, WAKE. UP. Your kids are living in a world that you are not invited to be part of. And they know how to keep you out.”

One student admitted to activities like cyberbullying, that they “get nudes from boys I don’t even know,” and “love catfishing.” A second response discussed the ability to “sext” through social media, as well as “buy drugs” and other associated paraphernalia.

Another answer said that they are on social media “till like 2am every day.”

One response mentioned the fact that some parents might not know, saying, “I can delete my send messages,” while another believed that their parents didn’t know “how to find my pictures.”

“Kids really get bullied,” said another answer. The student also mentioned, “A lot of kids have secret accounts.”

According to a report by the Daily Mail, Coates’ concern over her students’ well-being prompted the experiment.

“With the recent school violence, the high Utah suicide rate, and the prevalence of school bullying, I wanted to know more about what is happening behind the scenes,” she said.

“I am also a mother of three and have a preteen at home. He’s been talking about how he needs a smartphone, but I see the damage they are doing.”