Looking at most students, we have changed since the beginning of 2000. We can’t live without social networks; it has become a part of our daily routine. Online social media sites have gained worldwide growth and popularity, which has led to attracting attention from a variety of global researches. Secondary students use social networks as a mode to communicate and find answers and information about everything. According to current various research studies, it has been revealed that in modern society social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp have become issues to secondary students: they affect students’ health and performance at school, reduce their free time, keep them away from the family, have a bad influence, grammatically change them, and leave open to cyber-bullying.
As the young generation tends to spend many hours on social networks, they spend less time on education. However, education is an essential part of an individual’s life. For every teenager, education should be the most important thing. Today, teenagers show much interest in using social networks, but, unfortunately, social networks affect education in a negative way (Kuppuswamy, Narayan 67). Social networks grab the total attention and concentration of the students and divert them towards non-educational, unethical and inappropriate actions such as useless chatting, wasting time by random searching and not doing their homework. Students are also not able to get rid of this addiction during lecture hours; therefore, their concentration decreases and this negatively affects their ability to learn new topics. According to Daily Mail, “Experts have confirmed what parents and teachers already feared – youngsters who use Facebook do worse on exams” (Clarke 1).
The usage of social networks among younger children is high and growing rapidly. “The research showed that 68% of students who used Facebook had a significantly lower GPA” (Clarke 1). Moreover, Facebook rituals such as ‘liking pictures’, ‘poking’ other users and adding applications, can swallow up hours of study time (Clarke 1). According to other surveys, the use of smartphones to access social network sites during class does not only affect students’ concentration, it also distracts students’ from listening and memorizing important information. Inevitably, their exam results fall dramatically. In The Impact of Mobile Phone Usage on Student Learning, Scott Titsworth and Jeffrey Kuznekoff have shared their survey results. In their survey, there are three student groups.
The first group is the control group, who are banned from using their mobile phones during lecture hour. The second group is more free in using of their mobile phones than the first group. The third group, called the high-distraction group, is totally free to use their mobile phones during lessons. According to survey results, the control group is the most successful in exams, their free recall and note details are much better than other groups. The high-distraction group is the worst in all of the areas.
Their short-time memories were affected negatively because of their use of the mobile phones (233). In Negative Effects of Social Networking Sites for Students, Steve Armstrong writes: “Students today have begun to rely on the accessibility of information that is available on the social media platforms specifically as well as the web in general in order to get answers. This means that there is a reduced focus on learning as well as on retaining information” (Armstrong 1). As a result usage of mobile phone during lecture hours has a significant effect on students’ exam results and memory.
Similarly, social networking can impact health. One of the biggest problems is that the phone and computer screens have been proven to cause eyestrain, leading to poor eyesight. The little movement, when they are staring at a screen has been proven to lead to muscle weakness, less muscle development and, in some cases, bone loss. A number of studies have found characteristics of social networks to be strongly associated with health outcomes for a range of physical and psychiatric conditions, and even with mortality rates (Salzinger, Antrobus, and Hammer 2). To prove this statement, nowadays lots of teenagers are wearing glasses or contact lenses.
That tells me that using social networks when it’s not needed, may lead you for a health problems. An article titled Are Social Networking Sites Turning Teens into Substance Abusers? tells the reader statistics about how much more likely teenagers are to drink or smoke after being on social networking sites. “…teens that use Facebook on a daily basis are three times more likely to drink alcohol and twice as likely to use marijuana than those who do not use Facebook” (Jaslow part 2). Moreover, an article called The impact of Social Media on Children states that the likelihood of children who use social network often, can increase their chances of them getting in trouble or becoming depressed (Gwenn, Clarke-Pearson 1).
Social networks like Facebook have a large impact on secondary students, often causing depression. The Telegraph reported a survey that found out that “53 percent of participants said social media sites had changed their behavior, while 51 percent of these said the change had been negative”. Furthermore, two thirds of participants have difficulty relaxing and sleeping after using websites, while “55 percent felt worried and uncomfortable when they are unable to log onto their social media accounts” (Dunneli 1). As well as that, 28 percent of young Facebook users, uses it ”all the time”.
Along with those problems, social media bullying has been consistent problem for teenagers. Since the increase in the usage of social network, it has become easier for people to target one another. Prospective problems such as cyber bullying, sexting and inappropriate behavior can occur without the appropriate monitoring by parents and the lack of regulation associated with today’s youth and young individuals. Sexting occurs among the teen population; a recent survey revealed, “20% of teens have sent or posted nude or seminude photographs or videos of themselves” (National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy 1). Severe, “frequent cyber bullying can leave both victims and bullies at greater risk for anxiety, depression, and other stress related disorders” (Cyberbullying 1). “The most common form of cyber bullying is through messages on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and instant messaging” (Cyber-bullying 1).
In some rare but highly publicized cases, some kids have turned to suicide. (Cyberbullying 1). For example, a few years ago a girl named Amanda Todd was cyber-bullied, which caused her to commit suicide. Before her death, she posted a video where she told how she was blackmailed into exposing herself online. After pictures were posted on Facebook, an online bullying campaign began and the 15 years old girl eventually committed a suicide (Six Unforgettable CyberBullying Cases 1). Another example is the story about Megan Meier. She struggled with attention deficit disorder and depression in addiction to issues with her weight. About a week before her death, a boy named Josh Evans asked Megan to be friends on the social network, MySpace.
They began to communicate regularly, although they never met each other. “Megan had a lifelong struggle with weight and self-esteem,” Tina said on the Foundation website. “And now she finally had a boy who she thought really thought she was pretty.” However, after Josh didn’t want to be friends with her and become more cruel by telling her “The world would be a better place without you.” The cyber bullying increased when her classmates and friends on MySpace began writing bad messages. Megan couldn’t read it all and went to her room, leaving her computer opened and hanged herself in her bedroom closet. She died three weeks before her 14th birthday (Six Unforgettable CyberBullying Cases 1).
Correspondingly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people with approximately 4,400 deaths every year. Many individuals feel that they cannot handle the impact of being bullied on social media and the stress related to it. Social media bullying makes people feel helpless and increases the risk of individuals who are being bullied to feel as if they will be the talk of the school or town. Bullying for the most part has been a continual problem in society. Parents need to educate their children on safer ways to use social media platforms in order to potentially avoid the blitz that is now referred to as social media bullying.
Correspondingly, social media influences teenagers greatly. For example, let’s take teenage girls; they believe that to exemplify beauty, you have to be thin like a model, as well as that advertisements encourage them what to wear or how to look. Another example is that media sites display multiple advertisements such as banner ads and behavior ads that influence teenagers by showing bad example such as smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs. There are lots of social networks that operate by gathering information on the person and make them buy a product or use it. Such powerful influences start as soon as children begin to go online (Wilcox, Kunkel, Cantor, Dowrick, Linn, Palmer 2-3).
In the same way, social media affect teenager’s grammar. Grammar structures, syntax, proper spelling are replaced by easier type of words, which are called ‘slang’. Teens have become quite adept at both thumbing and writing improper text where after they start to use it everywhere, even in their school assignments. Knowledge of grammar and spelling is lost and this degradation negatively affects students’ study. The researchers of New Media & Society passed out a survey that asked students to detail their texting habits, such as how many texts they send and receive, as well as their opinion on the importance of texting. The researchers also asked participants to note the number of adaptations in their last three sent and received text messages. Of the 542 surveys distributed, students completed and returned 228, or 42.1 percent (Matt Swayne, and Andrea Elyse Messer).
Usually, when work is done, most teenagers spend their time online, chatting with friends or just scrolling down the news feed rather than do something helpful or getting enough sleep. As the research showed “the average teenager gets just seven-and-a-half hours’ sleep a night, despite needing eight to ten hours.”(Carey 1). According to the Sleep Foundation, as many as 65 percent of children are estimated to suffer from significant sleep deprivation. Hundreds of thousands of children here also have sleep disorders, including insomnia. By the time these children are in their teens, using smartphones and tablets into the early hours has become so established that it has its own name, ‘vamping’, named after the adolescent vampires who never sleep in the “Twilight” books and films (Carey 1).
Social researcher Danah Boyd, author of the book It’s Complicated: The Social Lives Of Networked Teens, says that young people would rather be chronically tired and resort to subterfuge than give up what they regard as ‘me time’ late at night (Carey 1).“The Vampire CHILDREN” article showed and an example of a girl who spends her free time using social networks. “I snap really easily. My patience disappears and I just want everything on the spot,” she says, “I stay up until the messages stop. Then I see the time and panic that I’ve got to get up soon.”
Being addicted to the social network can be one of the problems too. According to the Washington Post, 14-year old Ben Knight was asked about how he spends his time “From the time I get home until I go to bed, I’m usually on my computer” (Ahuja 1). As stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2011 American Time Use Survey, high school students spent on average less than an hour per weekday on sports, exercise and recreation (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1).
Although many people around the world use social networking, it should only be used as a tool. Social networking aids long distance communication greatly, but there must be a stopping point. It cannot become our main form of communication and interaction. If we continue overusing these sites, then it will keep affecting our communication, self-expression, bullying, health, friendship and performance at school, grammar and influence in negative ways. There is nothing that can substitute for personal interaction. Social networking is the problem and we must eliminate its overuse by finding hobby or something that you are interested in. Schedule more quality time away from technology driven activities.
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