"All I Want for Christmas is a New iPhone"

"We Wish You a Merry Retweet"

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Pinterest"

Indeed, these twists on classic holiday songs reflect the new reality of Christmas, at least if last month's Thanksgiving is any predictor. Until then, the one-day record for Instagram-related photos was the 800,000 pictures associated with Superstorm Sandy.

Multiply that by about 12 to calculate the number of Thanksgiving and/or turkey-related pictures that were shared a few weeks ago. On November 22, Instagram users posted 10 million photos, with a peak of 226 pictures per second.

That makes me cringe.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a social media fuddy-duddy. I'm active on Twitter and Facebook. I will tweet this very article. I am a fan of picture posting. But I can't help wondering about the messages we as adults send to those nearby—especially our families—every time we send a text.

About 60 percent of Instagram users are under 34 years of age. Many (maybe even most) of the photos posted on Thanksgiving were by young people who use social media as an important channel for their developmentally appropriate radars.

But what about the 40 percent of users who are over 34? How does 6-year-old Tyler or 16-year-old Lauren feel when Mom, Uncle Roger, or Grandma pulls aside from a holiday meal or tradition to "quickly" post a picture?

In all candor, as a researcher on adolescents, we don't yet have a definitive answer to this question. We lack firm data exploring the effects of adult social media use on other members of their family or social circles. But we do know that lack of parental responsiveness in general can damage both relationships in the family and the self-concept of the child. We've also learned ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags: