Impact of social media on youth
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Impact of social media on youth

Post by on Monday, April 4, 2022

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Humans are sociable creatures by nature. To thrive in life, we need the companionship of others, and the strength of our ties has a big impact on our mental health and happiness. Being socially connected to others can help you cope with stress, worry, and depression, boost your self-esteem, bring comfort and joy, prevent loneliness, and even add years to your life. Lack of good social ties, on the other side, can jeopardize your mental and emotional well-being.

Many of us nowadays rely on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram to find and communicate with one another. A social media platform is an online platform that users use to develop social networks or social interactions with others that share similar personal or professional interests, hobbies, backgrounds, or in-person connections. Young people are heavily influenced by social media. It's becoming clear that social media has become an important part of people's daily life. Social media is used by the vast majority of people on the planet.

Social media has grown in popularity and growth over the last two decades to the point where many researchers are now interested in understanding more about these social platforms and their effects on the community. As a result of technology breakthroughs, people are being pushed to accept alternate lives. Despite the fact that almost everyone in the community has access to at least one social media platform, youth and teenagers are the most active and passionate users of these platforms, even going so far as to socialize while in class or even at church. 

In this context, experts have discovered that social media sites have a significant impact on the morality, conduct, and even education of our kids in society. The impact of social media on today's youths is both positive and negative. There's no doubting that online and social media use has become increasingly important in today's youth's lives. There has been much debate regarding the dangers of social media use since its inception. However, it is important that you assist your youngster in appreciating the benefits and drawbacks of social media while also ensuring his/her online safety.


The positive aspects of social media


1. Encourages social interaction

The primary goal of social networking sites is to allow people to connect with one another regardless of distance or other limitations. It has the potential to improve relationships. Young people can establish new acquaintances and keep old ones by communicating and sharing experiences online on a regular basis. It bridges the gap between friends by allowing someone in India, for example, to network and connect with a buddy in the United States. This, in turn, helps to develop links between classmates who relocated to other areas of the world after graduation, such as those between high school or college friends who migrated to different regions of the world after graduation. Social media can provide a virtual alternative for kids who fail to develop social relationships in the real world, preventing them from feeling lonely.


2. Positive effects on mental health

Use of social media increases the production of oxytocin, a hormone that decreases stress and enhances emotions of happiness. Online conversations are frequently simpler than in-person encounters since they involve little to no emotion and are less time consuming. The satisfaction and enjoyment we derive from likes and favorable comments are frequently the consequence of minimal effort and time. Naturally, if the comments are unfavorable or the number of likes is judged insufficient, it may have a negative impact on mental health. Instagram recently made the amount of likes for posts accessible only to the profile owner in response to user feedback, and Facebook is expected to follow suit. This helps to address the issue of kids (and people in general) assessing their peers based on the number of likes they receive for a post or comparing themselves to others based on the number of likes.


3. Offers educational opportunities

Children can learn through watching films, looking at photos, and reading blogs, all of which have educational value. Social networking sites can also help students debate homework and assignment subjects and serve as a resource for research and fact-gathering.


4. Contributes to globalization

The emergence of social media has resulted in a shrinking of the planet. We are no longer constrained by physical distance or geographical boundaries. Teenagers may now communicate easily with people from all over the world and reap the benefits of exposure to different cultures and views. It also keeps them up to date on the events happening around the globe.


5. It encourages inventiveness

Many social media applications allow users to express themselves creatively. Not only can you share your work, such as photographs, films, written works, and graphics, but other users can also provide feedback and comments, which can help you grow self-esteem and confidence. Additionally, youngsters can build pages and groups on social media platforms based on their careers, faith, and other aspects of their lives, which leads to additional connections and chances for their specific disciplines. This may even result in the creation of new job prospects for unemployed teenagers. Adolescents report that social media platform make their lives more joyful, efficient, and easier, and that it has also become a way of life for them, according to multiple interviews performed on a regular basis.


While social media has numerous benefits, it also has significant drawbacks. It's crucial to remember that social media will never be a substitute for human interaction in the real world. It takes face-to-face interaction with others to release the hormones that reduce stress and help you feel happier, healthier, and more optimistic. Spending too much time on social media, despite the fact that it is intended to bring people closer together, can instead make you feel lonelier and more isolated—as well as exacerbate mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.


The negative aspects of social media

Social networking has grown so important to today's generation that it has become a priority. They are engrossed in social media sites and neglect all of the important things in their lives, such as family, sports, and education. Despite the fact that social media sites appear to connect more people and keep them up to date, they lead to social isolation. The number of face-to-face contacts is limited because youngsters spend the majority of their time on these online social networks. 

According to a review of several research conducted by various scientists, social isolation can create a variety of repercussions in these youngsters, including physical, emotional, mental, and psychological disorders. This can result in depression, anxiety, and a range of other problems. It also leads to misspellings and the misuse of words and tenses due to the use of abbreviations and abbreviated versions. This has a significant detrimental influence, particularly on students, because it immediately impacts their language abilities, resulting in bad language grades.

1. The risks for the reward

The nature of social media is that it is self-reinforcing. It works by releasing dopamine, a "feel-good chemical" associated with enjoyable experiences like sex, food, and social engagement, into the brain's reward region. The platforms are made to be addictive, and they have been linked to anxiety, despair, and even physical illnesses.

"Consider a slot machine: if players knew they would never win money by playing the game, they would never play." The promise of a future reward motivates people to use machines. The same may be said for social media platforms. One cannot predict how many likes a photo will receive, who will 'like' it, or when it will receive likes. Because of the unclear conclusion and the possibility of a desired outcome, users can remain engaged with websites. People share content in the hopes of receiving favorable comments in order to increase their self- esteem and experience a sense of belonging in their social circles. When such content is combined with the structure of potential future reward, you have a recipe for continuously monitoring platforms.


2. Feelings of missing out

Another factor that makes surfing through social media so enticing is FOMO, or fear of missing out. You may be concerned about missing a message, inside joke, or other information that connects you to your peers when your friends and classmates use social media. Constant checking and scrolling, on the other hand, can be damaging to homework and studying. Procrastination, poor knowledge retention, and elevated stress levels are all possible outcomes of distraction. When you read posts of other people having a nice time, you could feel excluded, lonely, or anxious. It can be challenging to get out and form true social ties and in-person meetings when you have access to the entire digital world. When feasible, instead than conversing behind a screen, try to see your pals in person.


3. The vulnerability of the digital age

The sooner kids begin to use social media, the larger the influence it has on their mental health. This is particularly true for women. While teen males are more likely to act aggressively physically, females are more likely to act aggressively in relationships by excluding others and making nasty statements. Such negative contacts are more likely to occur as a result of social media.


4. Feelings of inadequacy in your life or appearance

Social media distorts appearances and reality, in addition to offering a lens through which young people may see missed chances. At a time when teen bodies are changing, social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat make it more likely for them to see unrealistic, filtered photos. Even if you are aware that the photos you see on social media have been manipulated, they can still make you feel insecure about your own appearance or what is going on in your own life. When a filter is applied to the digital world, it can be difficult for teens to determine what is genuine and what isn't, which comes at a physically and emotionally tough time for them.

We're also well aware that most people only talk about the good things in their lives, rarely the bad. However, you can't help but feel envious and unhappy when you look at a friend's photoshopped photos of their exotic beach vacation or read about their exciting new job advancement.


5. Cyber-bullying

When someone or a group of individuals utilises technology to bully someone socially, psychologically, or physically, this is known as cyberbullying. If a youngster is being bullied online, he or she should seek help right once. Approximately 10% of students report being bullied on social media, and many others have received derogatory comments. Twitter and other social media platforms can be hotbeds for spreading harmful rumors, lies, and abuse that can leave emotional scars.


6. May jeopardize safety

Regrettably, social media gives predators a forum to seduce and abuse youngsters. Users can create fictitious profiles, putting children at risk of conversing with strangers who could harm them. It exposes youngsters, such as those under the age of eighteen, to online predators who can lure them to engage in sexual acts such as lesbianism and other sorts of sexual misconduct. It also exposes these teenagers to pornographic material that is shared in some online social circles. Due to which, many girls are forced to drop out of school due to early pregnancies. This can also lead to the transmission of sexually transmitted illnesses like HIV, which can result in the premature death of our youth. These teenagers' morality is also being tampered with because they now have access to immoral material and films.


7. Lack of focus

Youths' productivity suffers as a result of spending long hours on social networking sites conversing. due to which, the kids become less self- sufficient and rely on their parents and families for support. Long periods of time spent on social media could be better spent on useful tasks that allow one to earn a job or even obtain an education, such as using online tutorials and research resources.

Misleading information and news are also encouraged on social media platforms, with the goal of tarnishing other people's names or other organizations of interest, such as political or religious organisations. As a result, there are clashes and animosity between the persons involved, which can lead to divides within tribes or between people of different races and tribes. It can also lead to people joining cults and illuminati groups, which can lead to the murder of people in society, particularly loved ones, as a sacrifice to these cults.


To summaries, social networking has both positive and harmful consequences on our youth. Individuals must determine whether or not to use the sites in the future, or whether or not to cease or even moderate their use. It is the responsibility of their parents to counsel and educate their children on current issues such as the use of social media, as well as warn them about the dangers of misusing or overusing it. Social media studies should be included as one of the courses in the education curriculum, so that students understand the necessity of being cautious when using social media.


Keeping your teen safe

These are some of the important steps that every parent should take to encourage ethical social media use and mitigate some of its negative impacts on their children.


1. Set sensible boundaries 

Discuss with your teen how to keep social media from interfering with his or her activities, sleep, food, or homework. Encourage them to follow a sleep ritual that excludes the use of electronic media, and keep cellphones and tablets out of their rooms. Follow these rules to set a good example.


2. Keep an eye on your teen's social media profiles

Let your teen know that you'll be reviewing his or her social media accounts on a frequent basis. You should aim to do it once a week at the very least. Make certain you complete the task.


3. Describe what isn't acceptable 

Encourage your kid not to gossip, spread rumors, bully, or harm someone's reputation, whether online or off. Discuss what is proper and safe to publish on social media with your teen.


4. Encourage your pals to interact with you in person

 This is especially crucial for teenagers who are prone to social anxiety. Encourage physical activity as well as off-line pursuits. Encourage them to engage in physical activities and interests that need real-world interaction to keep them away from social media. Exercise is beneficial for reducing anxiety and tension, as well as raising self-esteem and enhancing mood, and it may be done as a family. The less friends, likes, or shares your child has on social media, the better his or her mood and sense of self- worth will be.


5. Teach your child that social media does not portray people's life accurately

They should not use social media to compare themselves or their lives to others. People only share what they want the rest of the world to see. Images are either edited or carefully posed and selected. Furthermore, having fewer social media friends does not imply that your child is less popular or deserving.


6. Consult your child's health care practitioner 

If you suspect your teen is exhibiting signs or symptoms of anxiety or sadness as a result of social media use, you should consult your child’s health care practitioner.


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