After a two-year investigation on what life is like for the modern teenager, Anderson Cooper will unveil his findings for a CNN Special Report #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens on Monday at 9 p.m. ET.
In a follow up to Cooper’s Emmy award winning special report, Bullying: It Stops Here, Cooper says his findings are “startling,” when it comes to how social media impacts the lives of teenagers. The AC360 host calls social media an “instant barometer of popularity” and explores just how stressful that can be.
“There is no shortage of experts with dueling opinions about whether social media is good or bad for kids. But there isn’t a lot of research about what kids are actually doing online, and parents like me are left to figure out how to make sense of it all in real time,” AC360 senior producer Kerry Rubin told TVNewser. “When I was in middle school, my friends and I hung out at the mall. Now social media is the place where kids spend most of their time together.”
“For 13-year-olds today, their world really seems to be dominated by social media. All of the triumphs and heartbreak in their lives plays out in real time, 24/7, for their entire school to see. From a production stand-point, we had to really brainstorm the most creative way to illustrate that world. The goal was to bring our viewers along for the ride into the lives of these kids,” AC360 supervising producer Chuck Hadad told TVNewser.
Hadad went on to say, “We had a team of really talented video editors and graphical artists to create that virtual world. Along with that, we had a group of very brave thirteen-year-olds, who participated in this study, to be our tour guides.”
The special had to cut profanity, sexting and numerous other things that teens encounter on social media. Cooper hopes this special will “empower parenting.”
“After this experience, I can honestly say two things: I have a much deeper understanding of why kids today are buried in their phones and I am so glad that I grew up before the invention of social media,” Hadad said.