Social Network Impact on Youth
Social media is a term used to describe the interaction between groups or individuals in which they produce, share, and sometimes exchange ideas over the internet and in virtual communities. The impact of social networks on young people is significant. Children are growing up surrounded by mobile devices and interactive social networking sites such as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook, which has made the social media a vital aspect of their life. Social network is transforming the manner in which young people interact with their parents, peers, as well as how they make use of technology.
The effects of social networking are twofold. On the positive side, social networks can act as invaluable tools for professionals. They achieve this by assisting young professionals to market their skills and seek business opportunities. Social networking sites may also be used to network professionally. On the negative side, the internet is laden with a number of risks associated with online commuinties. Cyber bullying, which refers to a type of bullying that is perpetrated using electronic technology, is one of the risks.
Bullies have taken to internet sites such as Twitter and Facebook, where the hide behind the anonymity provided by the internet to carry out their despicable acts. Young people also run the risk of inadvertently disclosing their personal information since on most occasions; they usually neglect to read carefully websites’ privacy policies. Whenever young people fail to read the policies and disclaimers, they are exposed to risks of having their personal information disclosed. This is especially a serious matter in light o the rising cases of cyber crimes such as identity theft. New studies reveal that social networks have the ability to sway people to spend money by running advertisements on the user’s page . Such forms of near-subliminal advertising can subconsciously cause an individual to buy certain merchandise.
It is becoming increasingly clear that social networks have become part of people’s lives. Many young people are using their tablet computers and smartphones to check Tweets and status updates from their friends and family. As technology advances, people are pressured to adopt different lifestyles. Social networking sites can assist young people to become more socially capable. However, they may also make them clumsy and incompetent, as well. Therefore, it is imperative to exercise caution and restraint when dealing with such issues.
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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.