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Consider the benefits and challenges of social media amongst young Australians Essay

The use of social media by young Australians has become increasingly popular. This essay will show that social media can have many benefits to young Australians by enabling them to engage with peers, the creativeness it brings out and enhanced learning opportunities. Cyber bullying and privacy issues are some of the challenges that can arise with the use of social media. One of the benefits of social media is the ability to connect and engage with others. Keeping in touch with friends and family who live far away can be made a lot easier by communicating through social media by sharing updates, photos, videos, and messages.

’In 2008, Facebook reported having 67 million active users, with more than half of them returning daily and spending an average 20 minutes per day on the site’. Social media provides young people with the right tool to be able to make new relationships as well as strengthened existing relationships. The strong sense of community and belonging fostered by SNS [social networking services] has the potential to promote resilience, which helps young people to successfully adapt to change and stressful events. Social media is a significant tool for enabling creativity and innovation for young Australians.

Through social media they are able to develop a diverse range of skills such as editing content, interactive blogging, encourage the creation and sharing of poetry, arts, photography, and video content. A study conducted last year by the University of Minnesota suggested that using social networking sites improved technology and communication skills, boosted creativity and exposed students to new and diverse world views. These students also tended to do better in exams. Education through social media has great benefits for young people.

Being able to learn everything from foreign languages to how to write a computer code and everything in between. Social networking services can facilitate learning and skill development outside formal learning environments by supporting peer-to-peer learning of knowledge and skills, collaboration, diverse cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace , and a more empowered conception of citizenship. Cyber bullying on social media is a risk for young Australians. Cyber bullying is purposely using social media to communicate wrong, humiliating, or hostile information about another person.

The most frequently used nature of harassments are name calling and gossiping. ‘Thirty three percent of youth reported an online harassment in the last year’. Young people usually react by pretending to ignore it, by really ignoring it or by reacting and bullying the bully. Cyber bullying is quite common and can occur to any young person online. Cyber bullying can have devastating effects to a young person including depression, anxiety, isolation and suicide. The improper use of social media by young Australians can put their privacy at risk.

The volume and accessibility of personal information available on social media have attracted malicious people who seek to exploit this information. Young people who lack an awareness of privacy issues often post on social media inappropriate messages, pictures, and videos of themselves and others without understanding that it could result in future reputations being damaged. ‘Adults are concerned about invasion of privacy, while teens freely give up personal information’. Sharing too much information on social media can also make young people easier targets for marketers and fraudsters.

Communicating and sharing information on social media to someone who you do not know their identity can be very dangerous as this sort of behaviour can attract online predators. To conclude, it is clear young Australian’s are faced with many benefits and challenges when using social media. From cyber bullying and privacy issues social media opens up avenues for problems but along with these challenges come opportunities for young people to learn in many different ways and express themselves creatively. It is up to the user how they want to engage and use social media.

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