Teenage is the age relating to a person's life between the ages of 13-19 years. This is where kids are at the peak of their adolescence transition period of physical and psychological human development and are easily prone to be affected by anything, and they tend to be emotional, physical and sentimental (Dorn,2011).
Social media on the other hand, are computer-mediated tools which are enhanced to enable people to create, share and exchange information, ideas and pictures in virtual communications and networks which are essential in enhancing networking and interaction between individuals (Kaplan, 2010).
Social media indulgence has varying effects on teenage kids which can tend to have either a positive or negative impacts, depending with ones exposure and usage of it. Some Research has shown that teenage engagement in social media activities tend to build their Intelligence to some levels through the interaction, social communication and technical skill development that social media comes with. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype,Whatsapp and the internet at large can prove a vital skill development for the teenagers if put into good utilization and usage at the right times (Ito, 2008).
Study has shown that 22% of teenage and adolescents kids log into their favourable social media sites more than once a day. With 75% of teenagers owning cell phones, 25% of them use them for social media, 54% use them for texting and 24% use them for instant messaging. These to some extend have effects on their cognitive levels within different level of their growth and development (Hinduja, 2007).
Because of the unlimited control and regulation of social sites, teenage kids are prone to being exposed to negative vices which impacts badly on their development hence affecting their mental capabilities in judgement, reasoning and decision making. Changes in technology, trends and how people view things have led to people continuous use of social media platforms to enable them interact and exchange ideas and information. This to a greater extent has led to many parents unable to control teens exposure to social media platforms, disregarding the effects that they have on their cognitive levels. This therefore affects their growth and development process keeping in mind new social media platforms emerges on a daily basis (Palfrey, 2010).
Effects of social media have affected both online and offline existence of teenage kids which impacts differently on their cognitive levels. Negative effects such as cyber bullying, sexting, exposure to pornographic content, isolation tendency, and addiction to cell phones and internet affect to a larger extend the growth and development of teenage kids. Cyber bulling and online harassments which utilises the use of social media platforms to spread and disseminate false, embarrassing and hostile information about a person way of being, past experiences and so on to cause a negative publicity on their image in the eye of the public. Cyber bulling in a larger extend utilises the use of propaganda, rumours or the real ideals about a person which can cause severe depression, isolation, anxiety and unexpected suicides which is more harm than gain in a teen growth and development (Hinduja, 2010).
Sexting being the sending receiving and forwarding of sexual explicit materials using cell phones, computers and other social media platforms have a negative impact on teens psychological and emotional behaviours. These can lead to immoral behaviours such as fornication, drug abuse, moral decay, spread of sexual transmitted infections and so on. Sexting has enhanced sharing of private information via social platforms which sometimes tend to go viral impacting negatively on teenage kids growth and development, as they tend to be affected both emotionally and mentally. These causes bad publicity, suspensions from schools, isolations and charge felonies which tend to affect their teenage lives (Davila, 2009).
Social Media effects has enhanced isolation tendency within teenage kids hence affecting their cognitive level of interactions and friend making among teens. Addiction to cell phones and internet platforms such as online games and other online contents has limited teens to their rooms and other online platform joints limiting them time to meet and make new friends, hence this affects on how they talk and exchange ideas with other teens as they will exhibit arrogant characteristics and lack of a mutual co-relation with others.
Social media limiting interaction on the online platform impacts on inter-personal communication among teens, as aspects such as body language, expressions and use of mimic language is limited in online interaction and this impacts on how teens will behave when in person during communication.
Above all, the use of short sentences and short words in texting affects teens grammatical prowess which impacts on their mental capabilities of thinking, solving problems and writing essays and compositions in their various institutions (Rachel, 2013).
Social Media addiction has led teens to indulge in social activities till late hours of the night which according to studies has an increasing effect on their mental health as they are prone to higher levels of depression and anxiety, poorer sleep quality and low self-esteem which to some extend impacts on their concentrations levels. Teens are incapable of giving another day its full attention due to lack of enough sleep, as they do exhibit laziness and tired characters hence they are not enthusiastic, competitive and aggressive towards their work, peers teachers and parents. Instead they direct their displeasure on the social media to gain sympathy comments from their online peers, hence having little or no time for their offline peers, family members and school activities (Sally, 2015).
In conclusion, social media exposure to teenage kids is seen to have a more negative than positive effects on their cognitive behaviours such as upright thinking and judgement attributes, reasoning and computing, problem solving abilities, comprehension and use of language, which in a way or the other impacts on their interaction both online and offline, hence leading to effects in their mental, emotional and psychological well-being. These therefore leads to depressions, isolations and aggression among teens thus they grow and develop in uncouth conditions that dont favour their well-being.
Davila J, Stroud C.B, Starr L.R, et al. (2009). Romantic and sexual activities, parent-adolescent stress, and depressive symptoms among early adolescent girls;
Dorn L. D., Biro F. M. (2011). Puberty and its Measurement: A Decade in Review. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21 (1): 180-195.
Hinduja S, Patchin J. (2007). Offline consequences of online victimization: school violence and delinquency. J Sch Violence. 6 (3):89112.
Hinduja S, Patchin J. W. (2010). Bullying, cyber bullying, and suicide. Arch Suicide Res: 14 (3):206221.
Ito M., Horst H., Bittani M, et al. (2008). Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project. Chicago.
Kaplan A. M., Haenlein M., (2010). Users of the world, Unite: The challenges and Opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53 (1). p.61.
Palfrey J, Gasser U, Boyd D. (2010). Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media Landscape. Cambridge, MA: Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
Rachel., E. (2013). Teens and Social Media. Child Mind Institution.
Sally, W., (2015). Teens Night-Time use of Social Media Risks Harming Mental Health. The Guardian.
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