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Social networking narcissism is on the rise among adolescents, and if not tackled, it will continue to be a negative factor affecting youths. Narcissism is described as the desire for admiration and undue interest in oneself and one's physical appearance. Alam believes that social media has produced a generation of narcissists by encouraging teens to gain recognition from people on these sites (Alam 14). Indeed, the emergence of social media has resulted in cultural, social, and civil shifts that have had a significant effect on young people. Equally important, the explosion of technology has been an innovative step that has significantly revolutionized the world while at the same time saw the emergence of narcissism behavior in teenagers.
Currently, there is no doubt that every person knows what social media is and networking sites have attracted many people. Nonetheless, the social media has a long history. The first site that connected individuals was the Six Degrees which lasted from 1997 to 2001. After that, the world witnessed the advent of instant messaging and blogging. Individuals were able to communicate on blogs and share issues. Around 100 million were able to access the internet by 2000 and thus involved in blogging (Smith 6). Still, in the early 2000s, MySpace was a website that became a popular networking site. It can be asserted that MySpace inspired the development of Facebook in 2004 which has turned out to be a giant social media in the modern world. Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg, and since then, it has become to be the largest networking site. Twitter was also established in 2006, and today it has more than 500 million users. Today, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the majorly used social media by teenagers that promote narcissists behavior. Thousands of young people have turned to these networking sites to get approval from their friends. Teenagers frequently take pictures and edit to make them look attractive before posting them on the social media. In particular, Instagram caters for people who communicate using photos, and one would not fail to find this application in a phone of a young person.
Evidently, social networks are an ideal place where narcissist behavior showcase itself in many youths. Studies show that many teenagers with narcissistic traits are significantly drawn to networking sites. Again, psychologists report that social media is associated with narcissistic tendencies and confirm that they negatively impact the lives of youths who care about their image (Wiederhold 13). Fresh findings affirm that there is an association between narcissism and activities on social media. For example, Gnambs and Appel in their journal "Narcissism and Social Networking Behavior: A Meta-Analysis" carried out in 2017 examines the relationship between social sites and narcissism behavior. They state that “The increasing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter has given rise to speculations that the intensity of using these platforms is associated with narcissistic tendencies” (Gnambs and Appel 2). In this study, it is stipulated that many youths post their photos and status on the social networks to get approval from others. Teens get access to more extensive audience and thus display information purposed at self-promotion and meticulously cultivate their image. Trottier ascertains that networking platforms are an ideal breeding ground for narcissists especially in teenagers (Trottier 9).
Studies prove that there is a link between social media and narcissism. The journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, it is reported that individuals aged 18-25 years were examined on the use of Facebook and the information they post on their Facebook profiles. The research also evaluated these people on “Narcissism Personality Inventory and measured according to the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale” (Wiederhold 3). The findings of the study stated that individual who frequently use Facebook tend to develop insecure or narcissistic personalities. Besides, in another study, on the use of Twitter and Facebook, it is reported that anti-social behavior and exhibitionism associate with self-promotion (Trottier 9). Other researchers have also found that people who have low self-esteem will frequently post updates on the social media and more often post articles that work against them (Ozad and Gulen 16). These people will criticize the photos and information of their friends using negative factors surrounding their lives. Also, studies indicated that high usage of social media contributes poor relationships with friends because a lot of time is spent online updating and commenting status.
Teens who also use Facebook and other networking sites are prone to becoming aggressive, poor academic performance and anti-social behavior. Poor academic performance and low self-esteem in teenagers is sometimes attributed to the use of social media. There is also buying on these sites, and extreme cases have resulted in deaths. The risk of fraud or theft through the social media is also rampant, and it consumes a lot of time. The easiness that comes with the accessibility to the social media through the electronic devices like laptop, phones, and tablets entwine the society in a way that culminates into fundamental problems. The social media has made people create issues with their realities. Networking has significantly triggered problems in teenage relationships and influenced interpersonal relationships (Ozad and Gulen 15). Undeniably, the world is witnessing the detrimental impacts of the social media on young people.
The use of the social media has weakened the bonds of face-face interaction and made people loose virtual reality with themselves. The attention that is directed to the social media mainly has seen individuals pay little attention to themselves and the people around them. Parents and children do not have time to talk and share issues together on the same table as it used to be before. The attention that is directed to the social media raises a societal alarm. Moral degradation has increased and especially in teens and thus record poor performance. Some of these teenagers go as far as posting their nude photos on the networking sites. Hence, this has created a moral panic in the society.
Undoubtedly, there are vast studies linking narcissism behavior to the use of social media. Narcissistic personality traits in people who use social media are portrayed by anti-social behavior and poor performance in academics as well as problems with self-esteem. Social media encourages self-promotion because the users are able to generate all the content they want on network sites. Teenagers majorly use social media in order to look special, important and gain attention. They will continuously update their status to raise their self-esteem and identity when they receive positive feedback. Therefore, social networking has led to major challenges in teenagers and has turned to be a platform for narcissism redefining the society. The problem of narcissism stems from the feeling of inadequacy and the rapid shift on instant gratification prove to have adverse effects on the people.
Alam Mayesha. Weighing the Limitations against the Added-Value of Social Media as a Tool for Political Change. New York City. The Center for Democracy and Civil Society. 2011
Gnambs, Timo, and Markus Appel. "Narcissism and Social Networking Behavior: A Meta-Analysis." Journal of Personality, 2017, Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1111/jopy.12305.
Smith Aoron. Civic Engagement in the Digital Age. New York City. Pew Research Center. 2013
Ozad, Bahure Efe and Uygarer, Gulen. "Attachment Needs and Social Networking Sites." Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, vol. 42, 2014 Supplement, pp. 43-52. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2224/sbp.2014.42.0.S43.
Trottier, D. Interpersonal Surveillance on Social Media. Canadian Journal Of Communication, 37(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2012v37n2a2536. 2012
Wiederhold, Brenda K. "Cyberpsychology, Behavior, And Social Networking completes Another Milestone." Cyberpsychology, Behavior, And Social Networking, vol 13, no. 6, 2010, pp. 599-600. Mary Ann Liebert Inc, doi:10.1089/cyber.2010.1505.
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