Social Media May Not Be That Bad for Your Teen After All: New Harris Study Shows a Big Jump in Number of Teens Who Say Social Media Has Made Them More Aware of the Needs of Others

According to a new 30 Hour Famine study, conducted online in January by Harris Interactive, more than half of teens (55%) say social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have made them more aware of the needs of others — a huge increase from 2011, when a little more than 4 in 10 (44%) said their use of social media made them more aware. The study also says 2 in 3 teens (68%) agree that the benefits of social media outweigh the risks. According to the study, more than nine out of ten (91%) agree that it’s important to volunteer locally. At the end of this month, some 200,000 teens will go hungry as part of World Vision‘s 30 Hour Famine to raise funds and hunger awareness. Since 1992, 30 Hour Famine has raised more than $150 million to fight world hunger. This is the fourth year World Vision has surveyed American youth to get a better idea of what they’re thinking. 30 Hour Famine has close to 30,000 Facebook friends. "The jump in the number of teens who say social media sites make them more socially aware is a sign of the times," said Regina Corson, senior vice president for Harris Poll and public relations and youth research at Harris Interactive, in a news release. "It’s exciting to see our youth using the tools at their fingertips like social media to have a direct impact on the world," said Michele Tvedt, World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine Manager, in the release. Tvedt has personally done The Famine for 13 years, adding up to more than 390 hours over the years.

While many teens will do 30 Hour Famine in late February, others will participate April 27th, 28th. Teens forsake food for 30 hours to get a taste of what the world’s poorest children face. Prior to the event, teens raise funds by explaining that $1 can help feed and care for a child a day. Teens consume only water and juice as they participate in local community service projects (food banks, soup kitchens and homeless shelters). Last year’s 30 Hour Famine raised $9.5 million to fight hunger. This year’s goal is $10 million.

Tonight, almost 1 billion people worldwide will go to bed hungry. Almost 22,000 children die each day from hunger and preventable diseases. Chronic poverty, affecting half the people on earth, is the cause. Nearly 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day. Funds raised this year for 30 Hour Famine will be sent to 10 countries including Haiti, the Horn of Africa, Burundi, Malawi, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some 30 Hour Famine funds also address poverty here in the U.S.

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