TheNegative Impact of Social media on Adolescents
Throughoutthe world, adolescents are actively using the social media tocommunicate and entertain themselves. Although the social networkingsites are beneficial, some light has been shed on their disadvantagesas well. The excessive use of the social media is making many youngadults be irresponsible in their time management skills. On top ofthat, some have become victims of cyber bullying and pornographyaddiction. A literature review of two articles further indicated thatFacebook can cause depression and that the aggressive nature of manyadolescents is attributed to the violent entertainment on theinternet. Interventions to these problems include creating awarenessthrough advertisements and cultivating a good relationship betweenparents and their young ones. It is evident that the responsible useof the social media is beneficial to the overall development ofteenagers.
Teenagersin the entire globe make regular use of the internet, video games andcell phones to communicate as well as to entertain themselves. 24% ofThe social media has a unique feature that opens up new ways for theyoung generation to navigate through the social environment. The useof social media among the teens goes hand in hand with theirdeveloping identity, psychological development, and moralconsciousness. This article presents an examination of the negativeimpact of social media on the adolescents.
Themost commonly used social media by teenagers include text messaging,online video sites, online gaming, and blogging with socialnetworking sites. 24% of teenagers go online constantly. 92% of teensreport going online on a daily basis (Lenhart, A. 2015). Overall, theuse of social media can facilitate the development of the youngpeople. While media use is an integral part of the adolescents’daily life, several risks are associated with social media use. Somerisks include negative effects on the mental health, sexting, cyberbullying, privacy violation and exposure to illegal contents such aspornography. The risks that the young people face online are verysimilar to those faced offline. However, it is important to note thatthe teens who are at a higher risk often engage in bad behaviorsoffline, and they do experience difficulties in many other aspects oftheir lives.
Thesocial networking sites are being used to propagate hate speech[ CITATION Cit14 l 1033 ].The problem can be more serious for the adolescents who belong tominorities and other communities that arediscriminated against. Online interaction gives room for people withunknown identities to indulge in hate speech and other disrespectfulbehavior. Another big problem with the social media sites is thatsome teenagers fail to understand the privacy settings of theiraccounts fully. Such people are unaware of the risks of revealingpersonal information. A recent survey revealed that 20% of the youthare not afraid of posting their photos online. Such like ones proveto be easy prey for the identity thieves.
Theuse of social media has got some emotional implications too. Expertswarn that the social media sites can have a negative emotionalimplication on teens who might be already suffering from lowself-esteem and a lack of confidence. Such teenagers start to gaugetheir self-worth by counting the number of friends that they haveacquired over the social networking sites. When they are not includedin a certain group of people, their confidence diminishes further.Excessive use of the social media denies many adolescents thenecessary interpersonal skills. Teenagers are spending a lot of timeonline ignore the importance of appropriate behavior that isessential for the face to face contact.
Accordingto O’Keeffe, & Clarke-Pearson, (2011) the negative impact ofthe social media is enormous. The article proposed that the excessiveuse of the social networking sites could cause health problems suchas depression. Researchers have discovered that when teenagers spenda lot of time on social media sites such as Facebook, they can getdepressed. The phenomenon is termed as “Facebook depression”.Adolescents are suffering from “Facebook depression” tend toisolate themselves and could at times turn to risky blogs in theirquest for help. On top of that, the social media has led to anincreased influence of advertisements on buying. Many sites exhibitmultiple advertisements. Such advertisements influence the buyingtendencies of the adolescents thus affecting their view of what isnormal[ CITATION OKe11 l 1033 ].
Astudy of the national television reveals there is an alarming amountof violent content in the social media. Many violent programs arebeing watched and followed closely by teens and preteens. Accordingto Agarwal & Dhanasekaran (2012), television violence contributesto antisocial effects on the viewers. Such effects include learningaggressive behaviors and attitudes, fear of being victimized byviolence, and desensitization to violence[ CITATION Fre02 l 1033 ].The extensive research on the effect of media violence on theteenager’s behavior shows a cause and effect relationship effectbetween the media violence and real-life aggression. Furthermore, theinternet has proved to be another source of violence. It has beenproved beyond doubt that the increased risk of aggressive behaviorsamong the adolescents is the result of exposure to violent scenes inthe social media. Children are unable to differentiate fantasy fromreality. Evidently, the use of violence as a way of solving conflictis a behavior that children and young people learn by watchingviolent movies and playing violent games over the internet. On top ofthat, the same social media sites are used to advertise drugs. Manymusic videos portrays the use of drugs and alcohol as being fun. Theimagined positive effects of drug abuse include sociability, romance,and relaxation. Many adolescents have started to abuse drugs andalcohol after being influenced through the social media websites andtelevision shows.
Thesame television advertisements and music videos have led to moraldecay among the youth. By imitating their favorite music stars, manyadolescents have started to dress scantly as well as losing a senseof morality. As opposed to field activities and games, online gaminghas denied many adolescents a chance to keep their bodies fit. Manyhave become obese as a result of playing the indoor games. Evidently,the use of social media can have far-reaching negative consequences.The problem should, therefore, be addressed before it gets worse.
Itis impossible to deny the fact that many teenagers derive much funfrom the use of the social media. However, overusing the socialnetworking sites can also lead to teen social media addiction. Thebehavioral disorder makes teenagers become so glued and obsessed withthe social media that it distracts them from participating fully inthe real world. In turn, the adolescents face the harmful effects onvarious aspects of their lives. Teen social media addiction ischaracterized by the level of being extreme such that therelationships and responsibilities in a teen’s life become greatlyaffected. Like any other disorder, this addiction needs to betreated.
Themost primary treatment is to reduce the amount of time that theadolescents spend on social media. Although this may look differentfor different teens, it can be implemented according to theteenagers’ situation at hand. Limiting the time spent in the socialmedia realm will in turn increase the time for them to engage in theactivities of the real world. Teenagers need to gain an awareness tomake connections between all the different areas of their lives. Thisway, the young adults will come to understand the consequences oftheir actions.
Sincethe social media has got its benefits too, young adults can enjoy thevarious benefits without necessarily suffering the negativeconsequences of social media. To achieve this, it is necessary tofind a way of curbing cyber bullying, sexting, identity theft,viewing pornography and other explicit contents in the internet. First and foremost, teenagers need to understand the full meaning ofthe stated social media atrocities. When one is bullied in real life,the best way to avoid such an atrocity is to stay away from bullies.Similarly, it would be wise to avoid accepting all the friendrequests on face book and other social media sites. Strangers shouldbe avoided, even in the social networking sites[ CITATION Moo14 l 1033 ].To avoid identity theft, teenagers should refrain from posting theirpersonal information unnecessarily.Moreover, it would be advisable to avoid posting too many personalpictures on the Facebook account. Cases of identity theft should bereported to the authorities. The thieves should face the full forceof the law[ CITATION Hed12 l 1033 ].Theother thing is pornography and other explicit contents. Teenagersneed to learn the consequences that come along with watchingpornography. The vice is associated with deep feelings of guilt and alack of self-worth. Instead of surfing the internet in private, itwould be advisable to use the internet in the living room. Moreover,one should set his or her goals while surfing through the internet.Such goals should specify the main reason for visiting a certainsite. Being focused will keep the mind on track. With specific goalsin mind, an adolescent will not get into random websites some ofwhich may be containing explicit content.
Parentsshould also be on the lookout for their children. Since we are livingin the new era of improved technology, it would be impossible to denythe teenagers access to the internet and mobile phones. However,parents can still help. The best strategy is to guide their children.They should teach their children to be responsible when it comes totime management. Furthermore, parents should be open with theirchildren. Teenagers should feel free to express what they feel aboutthe use of the social media. Healthy dialogue between parents andchildren can be a successful intervention[ CITATION Tyn07 l 1033 ].
Theother intervention is to campaign through television and radioadvertisement. For instance, a good television advertisement canliken the Facebook account to a car. A wise driver, would only give alift to the person who is well known to him. On the other hand, afoolish driver would welcome everyone to his car. Welcoming strangersto the car can lead to kidnapping and even the car could be stolen.Such an advertisement can knock some sense into the many teenagerswho value their self-worth by looking at the number of their Facebookfriends. In a nut shell, spending reasonable time on social media andhaving a clear understanding of the consequences of the careless useof the social media is the best intervention for the negative socialmedia impacts.
Fightingagainst identity theft, cyber bullying, and the illegal use of theinternet is not easy. Many young people love the social media so muchthat they become blind to the internet crimes around them. However,the interventions discussed in this paper have got their strengthsand weaknesses too. For instance, teaching the young adult on how tomanage their time can work very well in reducing the excessive use ofthe social media. However, it can be hard for the teenagers to usethe internet in publicly. Since they can carry their own phones totheir bedrooms and other private places, it would be almostimpossible to track their use of the internet. Cultivating a goodrelationship between parents and the young people can work. Whenparents gently knock some sense into the minds of their children, theteenagers may heed their parents counsel since they will sense somecare from the advice. Television advertisements can also work to someextent. However, not all teenagers would give much attention totelevision and radio advertisements since many of them concentratemore on other television shows, and they take breaks duringadvertisements. Although the interventions are not one hundredpercent perfect, the bottom line is to cultivate a strong sense ofresponsibility among the adolescents. Responsible teenagers will notbe prone to cyberbullying, identity theft, and other Internet malice.
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