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the effect of social media on teenagers

The impact of social media on teens and adolescents cannot be overstated; in fact, they are especially significant not only because they (adolescents and teenagers) are developmentally vulnerable, but also because they are among the most active users of social media (Ramasubbu 2016). While social media has certainly played a major role in expanding social ties and learning, the dangers associated must not be ignored. Teenagers are vulnerable to such evils as sexting and cyberbullying because they lack or find it impossible to control and are subject to social pressure. This paper investigates the impact of social networking on children and teens. A site on the internet that allows the interaction of any sort is the simplest definition of what Social Media is. In the recent era, many of such sites and web pages have come to existence and are currently spreading like a forest’s wild fire. They are the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Imo, Whatsapp, 2go, LinkedIn, Google Plus among many others. Social Media has brought with it a lot of goodness and at the same time it has been a source of constant pain and source of frustration to millions of users, especially the teenagers (Ahn 1435-1445).

According to the research that was conducted at the University of Maryland, the teenagers become restless, depressed, anxious and traumatized whenever they are away from Social Media. This was done by the researchers taking their smart phones and iPhones away from them for twenty-four hours, they were then allowed to have their phones back and told to share their experiences on the class blog. Most of them almost three quarters of the entire population gave feedbacks of being traumatized and never wished to have such an experience again.

This is what Social Media has turned teenagers to. Teenagers are now addicts of being on phone texting, posting pictures, sharing irrelevant posts that are not bound to help develop their intellectual capacity. This is the reason for the continuous rise of robots with flesh and blood (teenagers who have to be told most things) because they have little to no time of personal reflection, meditation and self-assessment. This makes them unproductive and less impactful and innovative (Madden et al. 2-86.).

Risks of Using Social Media

About seventy percent of those using Social Media are adolescents/teenagers/youth. This makes Social Media a riskier bet for most people who use Social Media in one way or another. These risks fall into various categories such as the youth having problems with their fellows, having problems with the management of these Social Media platforms due to misunderstanding their policies especially the privacy policies, third party interferences. Let us consider some of these risks.

Cyber Bullying. This is where a particular person or a group of people are harassed by bullies who they met online or those friends they know but they suffer in silence over one or two things these friends posted or said to them and people commented harshly. This is also online harassment. The term online harassment and cyber bullying are used to refer to the other yet they do not necessarily mean the same thing. The online harassment is not common like the physical harassment (Barker 209-213). This means that most teens with Social Media accounts might not be harassed by their peers but on the other hand they may be bullied through the derogatory statements and comments made by their peers. Cyber bullying often leads to chronic psychological problems such as depression and anxiety and this could graduate to more serious health issues if not handled in time and has led to many cases of suicide (Barker 209-213).

Immorality has also sky rocketed as a function of teenagers on Social Media. Many pornographic companies have opened sites that have become interaction points for those looking for quick sex and also those who do not mind selling their bodies. Take for example, Instagram, there are very many pages that have on them pictures and videos of fully naked or half naked women twerking and to make this a wonder, this kind of accounts have millions of followers. This shows in black and white how the teens in this society are corrupted and evil minded. Applications such as Whatsapp and messenger have made it easy for teens to flirt and sext.

Sexting is where there are two or more people sharing images and videos of their own private parts via devices such as cell phones, laptops, tablets or ipads. Before the introduction of applications such as the Whatsapp and Viber and even Facebook, this was a very rare occurrence, but now, it is easy to send such multimedia messages at a very affordable rate. This encourages promiscuity and prostitution is growing at an alarming rate. Teenage prostitutes now use this to charge people money in order to send them naked pictures some who are old enough to be their grandparents. Apart from the immoral concept of sexting, it leads many teens to depression and stress especially when they get mocked about the size of their private parts.

Distorted communication/barrier to clear communication is another sickening bit of Social Mediaon teenagers, especially in written communication. Social Media has made most youth to be lazy in typing whole words and use short forms of such words to make their points, example; “abty” instead of “ability” This adversely affects them in school and most teens are unable to pass certain examination because of their spelling errors. To add onto this, they are also unable to communicate directly as most of the time they text whatever they need from the other party. The tone used in the text message may not be the one that the person actually would have used in the real face to face talk. This misrepresents them and makes them so vulnerable to misjudgment and unnecessary criticism. Before the arrival of the numerous Social Media platforms, the teens used to interact in a more exclusive and adorable manner. They used to bond together, share great ideas, reason things out, have more time with family, spend more time with their spouses without being distracted. But now, even romantic dates have no romance in them, couples would go out to a very classy and sassy hotel, order food and begin to take pictures of the food, their shoes and jewellery and begin to post them on Facebook and Instagram. They have no time to actually bond and feel each other’s heart beat which is the reason that date is scheduled for in the first place.

This addiction and sudden crave and appetite for Facebook, Instagram, among others have lowered the concentration span of most teenagers. At the University, one will not be shocked to see a group of students chatting on Skype or Viber about how Donald Trump is the most horrible president America has ever had yet exam is just a dawn away. One will not be shocked to see a medicine student chatting on Imo while lectures on how to operate a human brain is on. This means that Social Media is a suicide mission that harbors lots of accidents in waiting; a suicide mission with a time bomb in plain sight.

Conmen and Con women have finally got an office to milk all kinds of cash be it dollars, Yen, shilling or Naira. They open pseudo accounts, impersonating various prominent people like pastors or inspirational speakers or celebrities and they manipulate their ways to unsuspecting Social Media users’ pockets. Many teenagers have fallen victims of this kind of dirty hustle and have even been duped of their school fees. Many others have been involved in making this pseudo accounts and using them to dupe/con many people. This has landed most of the teens in prison and some have been killed by angry victims who got wise and tracked them.

In addition to all this, many people are being stalked and monitored via what they post on Social Media (Madden et al. 2-86). Most youth would post what they are doing at the moment, where they are, where they will take lunch tomorrow, who they will travel with next week, how they slept last night among many other details. This gives an opportunity for thugs/robbers to know virtually everything about their target, making it easy for them to strike and get away with valuable items. This kind of monitoring and stalking is made so easy by the teens who seek to please others and to have all they have and pretend have all over the internet. This denies them their privacy.

On the other hand, parents are not an exception to this craze; most parents of this twenty first century generation have been in hot soup over some of the things their children post (O’Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson 800-804). Most of them are not always aware of what kind of posts their teenage children post and therefore, they could be hunted down by the FBI for associating with a criminal, or hiding a key witness to a crime committed at a certain date, or being an accomplice in a particular crime such as get away murder or robbery with violence. This makes the parents so vulnerable to any unwelcomed situation, so they need to keep track of what their children do while on the internet. They should also have access to the teenagers accounts and be their friends, if not, they should create pseudonym accounts and send them friend and follow requests. This makes it easy for them to access what their children do while they are online.

Parents should be very sensitive to their teenage behavioral changes and adjustments. This is because; whatever affects them (teenage children) also affects the parents directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly. They should also make tough rules on when to use the phone and when not to use it. Like during dinner time, all phones should be left far away from the dining table, during family meetings and prayer time, the phones should be switched off and kept away among other times such as during family vacations, so that the family can bond and get to tackle issues affecting them in one way or the other. In order to minimize the level of distraction and diverted concentration, children who are in high school should not be permitted to have phones while at school. This would help them increase their concentration and creative time. Giving the children confidence by constantly affirming them would be of great help to them, they will not be intimidated by what others say about them online because they would believe whatever the parent says about them.

Benefits of Adolescents/Teenagers using Social Media Platforms

On the other hand, despite all these adverse effects of Social Media on Teens, there are certain benefits of adolescents/teenagers using Social Media platforms. Such benefits are: Communication is very important, passing information is what keeps the world running and therefore, for teenagers to be able to have access to information, they are kept at a competitive position depending on what they know, based on their communication with their parents who may have been in a different country from where they are, colleagues and professors, class mates among many other people who they communicate with (Best, Manktelow and Taylor 209-213). Through this communication, they could be able to get opportunities for jobs, community development, being able to raise money for charity among other activities.

Another benefit is enhanced learning, this is because most universities and colleges have gone virtual. Teenagers are able to learn more about certain concepts through Social Media and class blogs. Students who are under the long distance learning category are able to have notes via Social Media platforms such as Whatsapp and class videos posted on YouTube or Vimeo or Facebook pages. News also reaches the world mostly by Social Media and people don’t depend so much on the big news agencies for news anymore. Everything is first seen on Social Media before it takes root in mediahouses.

Conclusion

The Social Media platforms have without a doubt caused a revolution in the lives of the current generation teenagers and university/college students. This revolution has caused the fall of some teens and the rise of others. Advancement in technology is responsible for everything to do with Social Media and according to the research conducted at the University of Maryland, Social Media has injured this generation. A generation where phones are more friends to human beings than human beings are to human beings, and a generation where what virtual friends think about us is more important and relevant than what physical friends and family think about us. Social Media has caused more harm to teenagers.

Works Cited

Ahn, June. “The effect of social network sites on adolescents' social and academic development: Current theories and controversies”. Journal of the American Society for information Science and Technology, no. 62, 2011, pp. 1435-1445.

Barker, Valerie. “Older adolescents' motivations for social network site use: The influence of gender, group identity, and collective self-esteem”. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, no. 12, 2009, pp. 209-213.

Best, Paul, Roger Manktelow, & Brian Taylor. “Online communication, Social Media and adolescent wellbeing: A systematic narrative review”. Children and Youth Services Review, no. 41, 2014, pp. 27-36.

Madden, Mary, Amanda Lenhart, Sandra Cortesi, Urs Gasser, Maeve Duggan, Aaron Smith, & Meredith Beaton. “Teens, Social Media, and privacy”. Pew Research Center, no. 21, 2013, pp. 2-86.

McBride, Deborah L. “Risks and benefits of Social Media for children and adolescents”. Journal of pediatric nursing, no. 26, 2011, pp. 498-499.

O’Keeffe, Gwenn Schurgin, & Kathleen Clarke-Pearson. “The impact of Social Media on children, adolescents, and families”. Pediatrics, no. 127, 2011, pp. 800-804.

Valkenburg, Patti M., Jochen Peter, & Alexander P. Schouten. “Friend networking sites and their relationship to adolescents’ well-being and social self-esteem”. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, no. 9, 2006, pp. 584-590.

Annotated Bibliography

Ahn, June. “The effect of social network sites on adolescents' social and academic development: Current theories and controversies”. Journal of the American Society for information Science and Technology, no. 62, 2011, pp. 1435-1445.

This article comprehensively evaluates how social media craze and affect adolescents. It highlights that social media craze that has swept off the youth from their normal operational niche and much societal decadence has erupted from this. Besides, it continues to explain the effects of internet which includes immortality which has taken center stage as adolescents use social media for sexting, spreading porn and also it has eased and cheapened prostitution. It also makes clarification on how teenagers are able to overcome these negative influences of immorality and various characters that destroy the teenager’s concentration span while and school and how they can successfully overcome social media addiction. This article will help conduct an in-depth study of effects of social media to teenagers

Barker, Valerie. “Older adolescents' motivations for social network site use: The influence of gender, group identity, and collective self-esteem”. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, no. 12, 2009, pp. 209-213.

This article describes the motivation of social network site (SNS), group belonging and gender effects among older adolescents. The article postulates that peer group member communication was the most important motivation for SNS use. In addition, the article highlights that female posted higher means for group-in-self, passing time, and entertainment. This is due to the fact that females are lovers of information relating to celebrities, new music alerts, Hollywood marriage make ups and breakups among many other kinds of gossip and gist as compared to the males. Negative collective self-esteem correlated with social compensation, suggesting that those who felt negatively about their social group used SNS as an alternative to communicating with other group members. The article derives mostly from journalism and activists’ writings. It will be used to evaluate what highly translate to older adolescents to be motivated using social media and networks.

Best, Paul, Roger Manktelow, & Brian Taylor. “Online communication, Social Media and adolescent wellbeing: A systematic narrative review”. Children and Youth Services Review, no. 41, 2014, pp. 27-36.

This article addresses the impact of social technologies on the mental wellbeing of young people. The author uses a systematic narrative review and empirical research approach to investigate the beneficial and harmful effects of online communication and social media technology amongst young people. Having derived from other scholarly works and journals, the article firmly stand to provide and describe the casual effect of social media on wellbeing and health of young people. The author describes how online communication is increasingly taking over the physical communication, where most children prefer texting messages and to make video calls even with people in the same compound or house. As stated earlier in the previous sentence, the author highlights why children and adolescents have an increasing rate of health crisis and why they develop lifestyle diseases and how this is connected to social media.

Madden, Mary, Amanda Lenhart, Sandra Cortesi, Urs Gasser, Maeve Duggan, Aaron Smith, & Meredith Beaton. “Teens, Social Media, and privacy”. Pew Research Center, no. 21, 2013, pp. 2-86.

This article addresses teenager’s privacy as portrayed in the social media. The article identifies that privacy has become a thing of the past since most teenagers are being stalked and monitored through what they post on Social Media. Most teens are not aware about this but the truth is, they are being stalked by internet fraudsters and many other peers with different motives. This article will help address the issue of teen privacy and how it is affected. The sources including peer-reviewed and scholarly journals make it appropriate for reference.

McBride, Deborah L. “Risks and benefits of Social Media for children and adolescents”. Journal of pediatric nursing, no. 26, 2011, pp. 498-499.

The writer of this article addressed how social can affect teens. The author goes ahead and describes the risks and benefit involved with source media. The article heavily derives from peer-reviewed and journal as reference source. This gives the paper credibility for use as reference of impact of social media to children and adolescents. or adolescents, especially for those in colleges and the universities, social media has been a great platform for learning since most individuals are able to learn from what they see. Social Media gives an opportunity for video tutorial sharing, document sharing and discussions regarding these shared materials. The author talks of risks such as premature exposure of underage children to adult content pictures, GIFs and videos.

Valkenburg, Patti M., Jochen Peter, & Alexander P. Schouten. “Friend networking sites and their relationship to adolescents’ well-being and social self-esteem”. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, no. 9, 2006, pp. 584-590.

This article addresses the consequences of friend network sites for adolescent’s self-esteem and well-being. The author investigation found that the frequency with which adolescents used the site had an indirect effect on their social self-esteem and well-being. This site stimulates formation of relationship and so forth. The authors highly rely on journal articles as reference. The finding of this article will be crucial in evaluating the consequences of social networking sites to adolescents.

O’Keeffe, Gwenn Schurgin, & Kathleen Clarke-Pearson. “The impact of Social Media on children, adolescents, and families”. Pediatrics, no. 127, 2011, pp. 800-804.

This study describes the effects of social media to children, family and adolescents. The author highlights the effect including cause of diseases including obesity: “children who reported spending more time on screen devices watching television engaged in behaviors that can lead to obesity”. This research is helpful in this paper since it provides insight on how families are generally affected by social media.

July 24, 2021

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