A quick gauge of Kiwi teens social media use

This week a car tooted at me from the lights, a friend had spotted me on the way to work and waved me into the spare seat. I found myself next to three under 16's talking about their social media use.

The debate highlighted the difficulty encouraging students to use devices and social media as a learning tool without letting them fall into the black hole of online distractions.

It was interesting to learn from their experience that students confidence and use of social media was influenced by the teachers they ended up with. Teachers who had daily online media habits were far more confident and fluent in those conversations with students.

"So what are the main social networks you use and why?" I asked. Here's what they said

- Twitter - Following 20-50 celebrities, artists or other public figures. Used daily as a news feed much like an RSS service.

- Facebook - Friends and Family only. 50-150 Friends and strictly only people they know and have met in real life. They completely understood how Facebook creates a filter bubble.

- Instagram - Active daily, 100's of connections and highly engaged, sharing and posting. For 2/3 this was their predominant channel.

- Tumblr - For 1/3 Tumblr was her predominant channel. Tumblr was a place she could follow a wide range of people and topics, without the filter bubble and still connect with fellow students as well. The other two students were divided; one used Tumblr a little and the other not at all.

Interestingly Snapchat was not an app they used anymore, noting others inappropriate use had turned them off.