Social media,like many things in life, has its advantages and disadvantages.
People havebecome dependent on the Internet and the things that have come with it like socialmedia. They use this source to obtain information about many things likepolitical issues. People become well informed through sources like Twitter,Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. The Internet has opened up communicationsaround the world and social media is an important factor in expanding thiscommunication. It is no longer just talking to someone else on the phone fromanother country, but now it is video chatting, instant messaging, and sharingpictures in a matter of seconds with people who you may not even know. By usingthese communications, an employer can recruit employees and people can keep intouch with their loved ones who may live far away.
Nowadays, few people buy newspapers,as the networking sites have become a better source of news for them. Since socialmedia started, it became very popular and the popularity has increased moreextremely over the years but it has also brought negativity to teenagers insome ways. Bullying has increased as well as committing suicide amongadolescents. There has been many stories about teenagers getting bullied andgetting pushed to the point of wanting to hurt themselves, which is devastatingbecause they are just children who have had a short life to fully understandthe concept of taking a life away and they do not know that it is somethingpermanent that can not be fixed once it is done. Social networking should beconsidered more harmful than beneficial. Adolescents use social media as aplatform to express themselves and to share their lives with each other using thenew ways of socializing but these new possibilities have an effect on a lot ofyoung people. There have been many concerns about things like “sexting” and howthis affects a teenagers’ self-development. There are also things like bullyingand self-harm that concern parents.
In the article, “Sexting, Selfies andSelf-Harm: Young People, Social Media and the Performance of Self Development” byFleur Gabriel, he talks about these harms that affect the social and mentalhealth of a teen and the problems it constructs in their sexual andself-development. Most teens like to share pictures and videos on the web tofeel accepted and admired by the rest of their peers. These teenagers like toshare pictures of them wearing the nicest clothes or going out to the expensiveplaces because these are the things that are often accepted in the world ofsocial media but this creates problems with children and teenagers, especiallywith girls. Teenage girls are still figuring out their identity but thestandards of physical beauty and sexual conduct promoted by the advertising insocial media can confuse them. Girls are always influenced by the things theysee in social media and when they see other girls with boyfriends, they wantthe same and often times, this is their weakness because they engage in thingslike “sexting” to flirt with other boys and after that, they can start sendingnude pictures and they risk having personal pictures or information uploadedonto the web. Fleur Gabriel says, “…thisprocess is considered unhealthy because children and teens are still developingcognitively, socially and emotionally, and therefore lack sufficient maturityto fully understand and consent to the sexual material they are both producingvia social media and exposed to through the wider media sphere”(Gabriel 105).Teen girls are more vulnerable than teens boys because they worry about fittingin and being pretty.
They seek acceptance and attention from teenage boys andthey do not notice how sending flirtatious images or messages can result inaffecting them. One way they can be seriously affected by sexting, is sexualassault. People may start to assume that just because someone sends nudepictures, they will agree to any sexual advance.
Another issue of concern ismarketing to youth using social networking. Most teens want the nicest thingsand they are the most vulnerable to useless products that seem useful. Thiskind of advertising can sponsor unhealthy products and it can be a danger toyoung adults. The article, “Marketing to Youth in the Digital Age: ThePromotion of Unhealthy Products and Health Promoting Behaviours on SocialMedia” by Sally Dunlop, discusses the most used social networking platforms andthe advertising that these platforms offer to most of the young adults in theworld. Sally Dunlop provides evidence of the marketing and sponsoring ofunhealthy products to young adults as well as examples of the many popularsocial media platforms that are used for these promotions.
Most of theseproducts include unhealthy food, alcohol, and tobacco. Many companies like totarget adolescents because it is always an easy target. One of the productsthat are promoted to adolescents worldwide is junk food. Childhood obesity is aglobal issue and it brings a concern to people when it is widely promoted amongchildren who do not have the maturity or the common sense to know that thethings that look good are actually bad for them.
Another product that is widelypromoted among children is alcohol. Sally Dunlop says in her article, “Thepromotion of energy dense and nutrient poor food and beverages on social mediais well documented in marketing case studies of successful campaigns” (Dunlop36). Companies have smart techniques that they use on reaching adolescents andthey do this by promoting on television commercials and advertising on popularsocial media sites. These companies also promote food in a sense of making itseem healthy but it can end up being worse than it appears. They also payfamous celebrities to sponsor their products on their social media pages.
Celebrities have a huge influence on teenagers because they like to follow themand want to live like them. They admire celebrities in a sense that they followeverything they do. Social media has also had a hugeimpact on teens with their self-esteem.
The article, “Impact of Social Media onSelf-Esteem”, by Muqaddas Jan shows the statistics of the use of social mediacausing lower self-esteem. Researchers have found that for every hour spentdaily on Facebook results in a 5.574 decrease in the self-esteem score on anindividual. This statistic is honestly interesting and eye opening because itshows how damaging social media may be to the self-esteem of a lot of people,mostly teens. The most popular and most used social networking site is Facebookand it has more than one billion users worldwide. This site has also becomeresponsible for the increase in cyber bullying and low self-esteem. In theresearch done for the article, Muqaddas Jan says, “Festinger claimed that thesesocial networking sites lead many people to do self-evaluations and make socialcomparisons between themselves and others based on social classes, socialroles, beauty, popularity, wealth accumulation and other social functions” (Jan331-332).
Many people, to express themselves or to communicate with otherpeople and have online relationships, use Facebook along with Instagram andSnapchat. Teenagers love to post everything about their lives on these sitesand people like to compare themselves to others based on their beauty, socialclass, and popularity. As said before, people like to post pictures wearing thenicest clothes and hanging out at the expensive places. They show the beauty oftheir lives but they do not show the ugliness of their life. They like to makeit seem as if their life is perfect and fun but the reality is that everyonedeals with problems in their life, whether you are rich or poor. The people,who use media frequently, assume that other people may be living a better lifethan them and it can cause them to question their lifestyle and can lead todepression and/or low self-esteem. One other thing to consider as a problematicresult in social media is cyber bullying and this is found particularly withteenagers.
All adolescents care about in their years of middle school and highschool is to fit in and they are often brought down and bullied by their peersand these so-called friends can be very brutal and they do not notice how theycan deeply hurt another person. These teenagers who are often picked on by thepopular kids may be judged on their appearance and/or where they come from. Although social media can be veryharmful to teenagers, it can also be very beneficial to them. There are manyteens that deal with social issues and they find it difficult to interact withother people. Social media has enabled them the power to be able to interactand communicate with their peers. Teenagers, who may often be isolated in thereal world, can participate online and feel accepted by others who may or maynot be dealing with the same issues. According to the article, “Benefits andRisks of Children and Adolescents Using Social Media”, by Elda Tartari, socialmedia can be used by teenagers as a source of information on health. One bigsubject of interest among teenagers, more specifically girls, is the physicalappearance.
The social network is popular for Instagram pages, Facebook pages,or Snapchat pages with information by many celebrities or anonymous people onhow to lose weight and how to keep a healthy diet. In the article, Elda Tartarisays, “Seventeen percent of teens who use the Internet, report they use it togather information about health topics that are hard to discuss with others,such as drug abuse and sexual health” (Tartari 324). Although the percentage islow, it is a good thing that teenagers make good use of social media to helpthem with information on topics that they may find hard to talk about withtheir parents or friends.
It was also found that students learn more when usingthe media. Students in middle school, as well as high school, use the media tocommunicate with school companions on homework or projects. According to thearticle, there has also been a creation of blogs by schools with help onlearning skills with teaching tools.
Social media provides students with a lotof important information on personal issues and on education. The previous article has interestingfacts about the benefits of the use of social media but there is more harm thanbenefits as a result of this new technology. It is a great way to interact withfamily and friends but it is also a great place to go bully someone. There aremedia sites like Sarahah and Ask.fm, where anyone can comment on their thoughtsabout certain people and it is totally anonymous. This is the reason for theincrease in cyberbullying within teens. The so-called “beauty help” on socialmedia is also responsible for the increase in low self-esteem within the youth.
More specifically teenage girls who like to compare themselves to the famousmodels on Instagram. Also, not all students use social media to get better atlearning and they can end up getting addicted to being on social media andcatching up on all the gossip that comes with it. There are also websites like YouTubethat some teachers like to assign to students as a “how to” for manyassignments and although some may not consider YouTube a social network, it isaddictive as well as many other social networks.
Being addicted to thesenetworking sites is very unhealthy and can soon get in the way of homework andsleep. In conclusion, it can be said thatalthough social media has proven to be very harmful, it is not going awayanytime soon. The percentage of bullying, low-self esteem, and depression willcontinue to rise inevitably. The only thing that can be done is to use socialmedia for positivity and benefit from it, or it can be used negatively toimpact adults and adolescents all around the world. Everyone has a choice as tohow they want to use social media and it can only be hoped that it will be usedfor good and not bad. Depression is an issue of serious matter as well asbullying and low self-esteem.
Usually, kids between the ages of 3 and 11 arekids who have high a self-esteem because they are children with no worries andno intentions of being popular. They are simply kids who want to be themselvesand have fun but once they get into social media, their self-esteem goes downand they no longer want to have fun and be themselves, they want to be who theysee on social media; popular. As social media has become more and more usedaround the world, children are becoming more involved in social media at ayoung age, therefore, they risk going through low-self esteem at a younger age.The purpose of social media has been totally changed because now instead of itbeing used as a way of interaction and communication, it is used to comparelifestyles and it creates envy between these lifestyles.