It’s no news that social media has come to stay. It keeps evolving on a fast lane. It has become a part of our world, to the extent that if you’re not a part of it, you feel left out. It’s important for us to understand that it affects our teenagers positively and negatively.
Most of the population of the world is on social media; young, old, rich, and poor. The internet despite being sophisticated, intriguing and engaging has remained an unsupervised world that has little or no form of morals or laws to abide to. Each time I log into my social media handles, there are two quotes I live on that helps to guide my activities online:
1. Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs, chrisbrogan.com – “Social Media puts the “public” into PR and the “market” into marketing.”
2. Chris Bury, a Sprouter community manager also has this to say, – “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”
“We are living in a time when attention is the new currency. If you want it, then splash your name and product on every social media handle.”
The effects of social media on our teenagers today can never be over emphasized. The big question however is, how do the social media affect our teenagers? To answer this question, I will be examining the positive and negative effects, then conclude with the role parents and teachers have to play.
Positive Effects Of Social Media On Teenagers:
1. Connection & Communication: With the advent of social media, our world have become a global village. The way we see the world from our own lens has changed enormously. It’s constantly linking people together for a greater cause and developing businesses on a fast lane. SM has become the biggest means of gaining popularity and communicating. Teens can easily share information, content, and ideas amongst themselves and to one another.
2. Reconnection & Maintaining Of Old Lost Friendship: Teens can easily make new friends as well as maintain their old ones. With the help of SM, they can trace old lost friends they went to school with by simply typing their names on any social media app or just by indicating the school they attended. They can easily acquire any kind of information and also be exposed to many opportunities.
3. Showcasing: Social media is also an avenue that teens can use to showcase their talents. For the naturally shy teenagers, they can openly express themselves without the fear of being adorned at. Although this must be properly managed by parents and wards.
Negative Effects Of SM On Teenagers:
Firstly, according to statistics, the average number of hours a teenager spends online is 72 hours per week. The pressure of being on networking sites and have an impressive profile is affecting the youth in a big way today, to the extent that if one doesn’t belong to any he or she is tagged “old school.” Youths, teenagers no longer give time to study, reading, outdoor events, or any other beneficial activities. They pay less attention to important details, have minimum focus, grow anxious over anything and become repulsive.
Secondly, it is no news that with the advent of SM, we are gradually losing connections with each other day by day and teenagers are not left out. Teens now have more virtual friends than real ones. They’ve become vulnerable to cyber crimes like hacking, identity theft, pornography, giving out of personal information to complete strangers, etcetera. They are constantly exposing themselves to one vice or the other.
Thirdly, too much of everything is bad. The same applies to the SM. Teens have become addicted to the SM that they can sit next to each other, and not say anything but just stare at their phones. As soon as they wake up, they don’t often remember to say their prayers but seldom forget to check their phones for new updates, new fossils, new trends, etcetera. Just like drugs, you cut them off from it, and they become depressed, repressed and stressed.
It also leads to obsession. The obsession has no limits and is not easily controlled. Teens today have become obsessed with getting approval from strangers they met on SM. Most of them have now adopted fake personalities just to fit into the world of their role model they met at SM. They do things that they naturally wouldn’t do in their present lifestyles. The psychological trauma this leaves on them is not always properly addressed. One of the major psychological effect is depression and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).
As Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Social media is a great way to pass the time and see whatever is happening around the world. It is very interesting and also very addictive. However, doing away with social media may not be practical or advantageous to society. But, some form of regulation should be put into place to ensure that people are accountable for any stuff they put on the SM.
The Role Of Parents:
As parents, we have the power to decide, checkmate, what our ward/children do on the Internet. It is not a privilege to get a child you love a cell phone or any form of technology; I consider it a treat. If you feel your ward/child is not behaving responsibly within the stipulated boundaries, you can remove their privileges. Trust me, it won’t kill them.
Take out time to learn about the different social networking sites your kids are on, chat with them about them – both online and off! Get interested with their likes, friends, trend-followers. The more interested you are, the more engaged they will become. They more they will also open up to you. Have an open communication with them at all times.
For parents who constantly want their child/ward to bubble and bloom, be careful not to make them burst much sooner than expected if you don’t start learning about what it means to be a social media role model parent.
In conclusion, parents become a friend to your child. Make your child/ward your best friend. As you monitor their activities be certain that if the coin is flipped, and they were to go through your social media walls, they won’t be disappointed or misguided by your actions.
Peace and Growth ❤️??
Photo by William Iven, Andrew Neel