Social media today has a huge influence on teenagers. Whether its social media sites, television, video games, computers, or mobile phones, they all have a huge impact on a teen’s life. In America according to research, 75% of teenagers have social media profiles on different media sites and 68% mainly use Facebook. With these percentages teenagers form the largest group of users on social media and the most vulnerable. There is no disputing that social media plays a vital role in connecting and communicating with other people and learning technical skills. Raising teenagers in this digital age has completely changed everything. The question is has social media made things better or worse?
Positive effects of social media on teenagers
Help create awareness
Many social media platforms like Twitter have information from globally recognized newspaper companies and broadcasting houses that keep you updates on both regional and global current affairs. This kind of information will keep teens updated on what is going on around the world and also develop their cultural and political awareness so that they can grow up to become responsible citizens. Social networking sites have become a hub for information however, you have to make sure these sources are credible.
Source of inspiration
Social media can also be inspirational to teens. Although most of the movies nowadays being shown on media sites are full of violence, there are some that can inspire your teen through positive advice from celebrities or they might take up martial arts, for example. A celebrity who is a reformed drug addict can influence your teens not to take drugs or develop a heart of kindness and giving from a celebrity who has a positive impact on giving back to society.
Developing social skills
Most teenagers in their adolescence are in an awkward stage of their lives. By being active on social media they get a chance to expand their social skills, develop new friends, and get to interact with other teens who are going through the same challenges they are. Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram are good sites for teens to interact and exchange ideas through likes, tweets, hashtags, and sharing. They can also network with people who can be useful in their future when they start looking for a job. Teens like to be noticed and be popular among their friends and they can increase their following on social sites by liking other people’s posts, sharing, use non-drop automatic followers to increase followers.
Help in developing reading and writing skills
Your teenager might become a writer because their role model is a famous and successful writer. Teens love to emulate their idols and if they get inspired to follow in their footsteps in a positive way, it’s a good thing. They might even want to start their own blog to share their thoughts and ideas with other teens becoming an inspiration to others.
Help in developing and fine-tuning motor skills
It’s no secret that parents find video games destructive and a bad idea for any teenager to be playing. There are some but very few games that can help your teen fine-tune their motor skills and have better coordination.
Anonymity can help prevent stigma
Being anonymous on social media can make it easier for a teen who has social problems find help without the risk of being identified. Having a genuine connection and an honest discussion with someone on social media who doesn’t have a fake identity can really help a struggling teenager with self-esteem or confidence issues. Just having someone to talk to and be real with can boost your confidence and give you a different perspective on life.
Social media is full of information which is a good thing if used properly but for teenagers, it can be overwhelming and destructive.
Cyberbullying has become rampant on many social media sites and the most affected are girls. Girls are socialized to compare themselves to other girls to develop an identity which makes them vulnerable. Lack of self-esteem and insecurity can cause relational aggression behaviours where you feel awful about yourself and the only way to feel better is by putting other people down.
Distorting body image
In the world today, appearances matter a lot to young people. You should have a perfect body, skin, and hair. Photoshop has changed the standards of beauty and made it difficult to achieve perfection. With these images everywhere on social media teens are distorting their body image to fit with popular images online. Girls are becoming anorexic and bulimic so that they can be as thin as the models online. Even boys are trying to fit in with famous male celebrities with chiseled bodies and perfect hair.
Teens are emotionally invested in their social media accounts and always feel like their posts have to be liked, have perfect photos on their profiles, and respond quickly to posts and comments on their page. All this pressure to keep up with everything happening online can cause you a lot of anxiety. Teens are very easily influenced and especially girls who worry about what other people think about them so they second guess every little thing they post online and wonder the reaction of others. This fact plus cyberbullying and other cruel online behaviours can cause a great deal of anxiety on teens.
With new technology and the use of smartphones, it’s very easy to locate you from anywhere in the globe. Kids love to update their status and share every part of their lives with the whole world. The GPS locators on every smartphone can pinpoint your exact location in seconds. Texting is a great way teens like to keep their friends updated of their whereabouts so that they can feel connected. The constant need to keep in touch can become emotionally draining and breed to anxiety. The fact that you can’t bear to be alone and feel ignored when you don’t get a quick response from your friend can make you result to stalking them.
Social media is here to stay and the only way to make sure it benefits you and not hurt you is if you use it properly and wisely. Teaching your teens on how to balance their time is the key to having a healthy and balanced life.