In the modern world, social media plays an important role in our daily life. What is social media? Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based interaction, content sharing and collaborations. The most frequently used social media platforms are Facebook, You Tube, WhatsApp and Instagram. The introduction of social media has made drastic changes to the world. Social media has transformed the entire world into a global village where everyone can interact freely with their dear ones anytime and anywhere via merely few clicks or taps.
Although social media can be very helpful to change someone’s life, but at the same time it can also have negative impact on them if they do not have self-control. Based on a survey carried out by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), one in every four youngsters access the internet for more than an hour every day while above 50% do so for at least 30 minutes every day. The research also shows that 73.
65% of youngsters use the internet for academic purposes while more than 62% use it for social media activities such as chatting with friends. What are the impacts of social media on the younger generation?
Studies have shown that one of the greatest influence of social media on the younger generation is a certain group of teenagers are addicted to social media. When we investigate closely, we will notice that in our society today there are many people sitting side-by-side for a long time without any interactions such as talking, but just staring at their own smartphones or tablets.
Teenagers nowadays are spending more time on social media compared to spending time with their friends and families. Teenagers are on their phone twenty-four seven, no matter during family gatherings or when they are hanging out with friends, teenagers are busy posting on social media and do not interact with others. On the long run, the lack of communication with others will make the teens antisocial in real life and it will be a disadvantage to them in the future.
When we seldom communicate with others, we will get used to it and unable to communicate properly with others in the future. At the same time, spending too much time on social media will reduce productivity. This is because teenagers are easily distracted when going through their social media pages when they should be focusing on completing their assignments and homework given by the teacher. As students, teenagers should stay fully focus when they are completing their task. Social media is just like drugs to teenagers, if we take social media away from them then the effect will start to kick in. Just like drug addicts, teenagers will feel awful and stress because something Important in their life has been taken away from them. In general, being addicted to social media has a lot of consequences which will have a negative impact on our life.
Whilst the discussion in the preceding paragraph, social media can also lead to uncontrollable obsession. Many teenagers nowadays are obsessed with likes and comments which lead them to risk their life in order to get them on a daily basis. When teenagers post something on social media, they will constantly check the amount of likes and comments they get. Teenagers nowadays are willing to risk their life in order to follow the latest trends. For instance, in 2018 many teenagers were following the trend of attempting the “Kiki Challenge”. There was a video that went viral which shows a girl jumping out of a car to attempt the Kiki challenge and at the end of the video she was hit by a speeding car. This shows that teenagers nowadays would risk their lives and do the things they would not dare to do in real life in order to follow the social media trend at the same time impress others. Besides the Kiki Challenge, there are also many viral challenges such as the cinnamon challenge and the Kylie lip challenge.
In addition, teenagers are willing to work tirelessly to buy the latest outfits so they could be hype beasts, eat luxurious meals and visit exotic or trendy places just to show off on social media. During teenage years, teens often feel that they cannot get the amount of love they get on social media in real life. Therefore, they dedicate their lives fully to social media. However, some teenagers will be easily affected by the hate comments they receive online. Therefore, one wrong move may affect their popularity on social media. At that instance, they might not be able to accept the incident and this will lead to psychological problems. Some of the most common psychological problems faced by teens today are depression, anxiety, suicide, eating disorder, drug abuse and self-injury. In conclusion, social media not only can harm teens physically but also mentally. Therefore, teenagers must have the self-control to ensure that they are not overly obsessed with social media.
It could also be said that, social media is a platform where teenagers can express their feelings and thoughts freely. However, this has leaded to the increase in cyberbullying. Chuck (2017) wrote an article about a 15 years old girl-Sadie Riggs whom was a victim of cyberbullying and committed suicide. Sadie Riggs had red hair and she often been told that only devils had red hair. Sadie was tormenting on Facebook and Instagram where her classmates would tell her to kill herself. Although her aunty took action by smashing her phone but sadly, Sadie took her own life by hanging herself. Longfield (2019) stated that the suicide of a 14-year-old girl Molly Russell has highlighted that the young generation can easily access horrific materials online. In addition, overexposure to social media is also a bad influence because teenagers often believe what they see online, this will lead them to body dissatisfaction.
Teenage girls often starve themselves in an attempt to lose weight just to have a perfect body. Based on a survey by Sarah Harris, more than four girls out of every ten girls between age 14 and 15 skips breakfast every day. In the bigger picture, this may lead to eating disorders and malnutrition. A real life example is the incident of Brandy Vela whom is an 18-year-old girl from Texas whom was cyberbullied and lead to shoot herself in the chest. Teenagers that have committed suicide due to bullying is because they are not matured enough to face such a big challenge. Apart from self-harm, spending too much time on social networks will also lead to serious health hazards for users. Staring at our mobile phones for long periods will affect our vision. They are also likely to suffer from obesity and leads to cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and stroke. To summarize, social media might be a source of entertainment but social media can also be a dangerous weapon that can lead to death.
Albert Einstein once said that he feared the day that technology will surpass our human interaction and the world might have a generation of idiots. Social media might bring us various benefits such as enable us to communicate with others, find information easily, read the latest news, and more. Although there are benefits, there are serious consequences if teenagers get addicted. In order to avoid being addicted to social media, teenagers should dedicate more time to their studies and extracurricular activities. Besides that, parents should always monitor their children to ensure that they did not use social media wrongly. Apart from that, parents should also set an example because most parents nowadays are obsessed with social media themselves when they tell their kids not to be obsessed with it. Parents should also spend more time with their children so they feel loved because teenagers often seek for attention on social media. This is because they feel deserted by their busy parents. To end this review, teenagers must always have self-control and always be reminded about the consequences of being influenced by social media.