The Lives of Teens are More Secretive Than Expected


Andreia Sales, Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Becoming a teenager has always been tough, with growing up and learning new things about oneself, but it can be even harder when trying to grow up in the world of social media.

In 2015, CNN released a documentary titled Being 13: Inside the Secret World of Teens. The documentary showcases the lives of teens that have social media and how they use it and why they use it so often. As the documentary progresses, the audience can see that these teens’ lives can become extra stressful when dealing with social media on top of their normal problems.

“People from school are always posting stuff so it makes me worry.” – Zack, on why teens check their social media feeds so frequently.

Photo courtesy of “Being 13: The Secret Lives of Teens” documentary

The main purpose of this documentary is made clear right away as the audience can see that the way the host Anderson Cooper, is speaking about the subject. He clearly sounds concerned, to suggest that maybe we, as a society should be more caring toward the young group of social media users as they are more fragile and naive. Throughout the whole documentary, the message is clear: social media has become an integral part of teen life.

“I probably check my Instagram feed about 90, 100 times a day.” -Gia, on how often she checks her social media.

Photo courtesy of “Being 13: The Secret Lives of Teens” documentary

Before watching this documentary, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Hearing the title, I just thought it would be a day-to-day documentary on how teens live their every day lives. At first, I thought, “How secret could their lives be?” At 13, my life was pretty open, I didn’t have anything to hide.

The sound effects were a bit odd. Throughout the documentary the sound was very criminal-like, for example, it sounded as if I was watching a documentary about the world’s greatest crime. It definitely wasn’t something I expected for a documentary about 13 year olds.

In order to know the “secret lives of teens,” CNN reached out to many young teens and asked them a series of questions, such as “How often do you check you social media feed?” and “Why do you check it so often?” These interviews were quite effective because as a young teen myself, I was able to relate to these teens and truly understand the types of struggles they face with social media.

The part of the documentary that I liked the most was when Anderson Cooper met with some of the interviewed teens and confronted them about something contradicting about them. So, when asking about the way teens act online, one of the teens, Jonathan, dressed in a suit, responded that he doesn’t understand why some people act a different way on social media. Immediately Cooper shared some of the posts that Jonathan has shared on his Instagram. Posts such as comments about weed and acting aggressively toward other people on Instagram.

A few of the posts and comments that Jonathan has shared on his social media. Photo courtesy of “Being 13: The Secret Lives of Teens” documentary

I would definitely recommend this documentary  to  parents that are clueless to how their kids are behaving online. This documentary was really insightful in helping me understand that teens are still growing up, they still need direction in the world, especially in a world with social media.