Social Network Impact on Youth
Online social media have gained astounding worldwide growth and popularity which has led to attracting attention from variety of researchers globally. Although with time all generations have come to embrace the changes social network has brought about, teenagers and young adults are the most fanatic users of these sites. According to various research studies in the field of online social networks, it has been revealed that these sites are impacting the lives of the youth greatly. When using these sites such as Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, there are both positive and negative effects on the youth.
It is inevitable to ignore the fact that nowadays social network plays an essential role in teenagers’ lives. Most youths are spending at least an hour in these popular social media sites. Generally, 1 out of 7 minutes which are spent online by most of those who can access internet is spent on Facebook according to Shea Bennett. One may ask how spending all that time on the social media sites may have a positive impact on them. Well, social media helps the youth and any other user updated with what is happening around the world, help the teenagers stay connected and interact with each other even if they are many miles apart. This strengthens their relationship even if they finished school and moved to different locations they stay connected and update one another.
In addition, social media sites have provided a platform whereby the youth can create groups and pages based on their common discipline and end up building connections and opportunities for their respective careers by updating various topics to discuss. Youth who have been interviewed they say that social media has become their lifestyle and it makes their lives easier and efficient.
While on one hand social network sites seems to bring people together and connected on the other hand it creates social isolation in regard to BBC News report. As the youth tend to spend many hours on these sites, they rarely have face-to-face interaction. According various studies, scientists’ evaluation determined that social isolation can lead to a host of emotional, psychological, physical and mental problems which include anxiety, depression and somatic complaints among many others.
Other negative effects of social networking various people suggested included encouraging poor spelling and grammar, exposing underage to online predators, allowing spread of misinformation that is perceived as fact, decreasing productivity as those who are supposed to be working spend time in the sites to chat, provide a perfect platform for cyber bullying and providing details that increase risks of identity theft.
Social networking clearly portrays both positive and negative effects on the youth. It is decision of an individual to make whether to continue using the sites or not.
Media is everywhere. It is an inseparable part of every teenager’s life. Historically, newspapers were the most common of media, but today cell phones and other electronic devices have taken over all forms of communication. Teenagers today depend on the media for information on everything the latest gadgets, fashion trends, the newest cars on the market, the best places to eat out in the country or to find out what their favourite celebrity is up to. Media controls the minds of teenagers’ like a giant remote control. In general, teenagers would be involved in some sort of media communication for up to four hours a day. Most teenagers spend two hours watching television and one and a half hours is spent surfing the internet each day. Many teens usually spend sleepless nights on social media without the knowledge of their parents. This disruption of sleep has had numerous effects on teenagers. It has led to cases of insomnia, mood swings and increase obesity.
Read more: Positive Effects on Social Media
Studies have also shown that, certain groups of teenagers are prone to violence because of media influence. Watching too much television takes teenagers further away from school work and homework crippling them academically. Teenagers who while away time watching television are at a higher risk of developing obesity seeing that inactivity is a major factor when slumped in front of the television advertising and movies propel the idea of bad habits being “cool”, this has caused teenagers to pick up their first cigarette as early as fourteen years old. Even the use of alcohol and drugs are creeping in at an early age. The influence is heavy when it comes to music videos, explicit movies, advertising and television shows. Teenagers often watch commercials that plant a seed of thought into their minds about what they have to buy and use as opposed to what they actually need.
Fashion magazines are also to blame for their glossy covers show-casing models with so-called perfect bodies that teenagers idolise and work towards, while of course compromising on their health. Some social networking sites are also used as a medium to bully others. Teenagers who have been bullied by others on such websites would feel depressed and suffer from emotional disorders. Teenagers who have been bullied may also commit suicide because they are not mature enough to face such a big challenge. Television and cell phones also take up time from physical activities and family time. Media has also caused the youth of today to become more anti-social and hostile. The negative influences of media that are a result of an overexposure to it are most often talked about. It is true to a certain extent that media has affected the society in a negative manner. But undoubtedly, media has proved being a bliss. Television can be used as an educational tool if used wisely and when supervised by parents.
Educational shows are always streaming on television, where teenagers can learn a lot from them. Social networking sites give teenagers a platform to interact with friends and connect with others, although that shouldn’t allow internet time to be so flexible. Print media is also a way of being well-informed about what goes around the world, where it can develop a teenager’s reading skills as well, seeing that it is a dying habit among the young. Socialising online can give shy and socially awkward teenagers a comfortable way to communicate. This can boost their self-esteem and help them practice their social skills. Studies have shown that teenagers who have computers in their rooms did academically well, seeing that the Internet served as a way to keep them interested in assignments, homework and projects.
Teenagers can also develop problem-solving or critical thinking skills by playing computer games. The media can be used as a weapon or stepping stone depending on how one uses it. Teenagers need to be sat down with their parents where discussions on these vital outlets are necessary. If parents need to be assured that they children won’t turn out to be depressed, obsessed or disturbed, then it is important that the relationship between the two is strong.