Influence of social media on teenagers
Social networking sites have becoming ubiquitous technologies in the twenty-first century and the youths spend a large portion of their day interacting through social networking sites. Social media has both negative and positive effects on the youths. Academically, social media is leading many youths to become more distracted from their studies. A study found that college students who use Facebook had lower grades than students who did not use the platform. However, some scholars have suggested that social networking sites enable the youths to learn in new ways. They encourage educators to tap into such platforms to increase their engagement with students and provide them with real-time assistance on academic issues.
Another drawback of social media is that longer use of social media correlates with measures of depression, loneliness, and smaller social circles. That is to say, the longer youths use social media, the more they tend to have a smaller circle of friends, and the more they tend to isolate themselves from their friends and their families. Another way in which social media can adversely affect the youth is by increasing the pressure among youths to conform to trends or because of online bullying. Grove (2011) reports that, two youths out of every three feel pressured to look good because of social media, which affects their self-esteem. Online bullying is a persistent threat that faces teens on social media. Grove reports that 15 percent of Australian teens report that strangers approach them on a daily basis through social networking sites. Interesting, online bullying can also be an outcome of relational aggression or the demand for power among teens who want to prop up their self-esteem. The world of social media leads youths into competition for favorable reactions such as likes or retweets and it leads youths to start comparing themselves with others. The comparison world of social media has led to increased instances of anxiety among youths in recent times. However, studies differ on the long-term effect of social media on youths. For instance, some studies have found that youths have higher self-esteem with long-term social media use. That is because with longer use, youths find more friends who because of the nature of reciprocity of social networking sites, tend to respond more favorably to pictures or comments that youths post, boosting their self-esteem. In essence, the effect of social media on the psychological well-being of youths depends on whether youths receive positive or negative reactions within social networking sites.
The advantages include that social media allows the youths to build more friendly lies with their peers and better social ties with their communities. Social networking sites have the potential to widen the social network that youths have access to, as well as provide them access to resources and people that they would otherwise not be able to access. Studies also suggest that social media can help to raise the self-esteem of youths. In one study, college students who used Facebook reported higher self-esteem and life satisfaction. The study concluded that using Facebook correlated to higher civic engagement, social trust, and greater life satisfaction among the youths. Another way in which social media positively influences youths is through self-disclosure. Additionally, the more youths share their views and more information about themselves, the more they improve their relationship with peers. The improved relationship leads to better psychological well-being.
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