How does social media effect youth?

By Nia Crawford, McKinley Technology H.S. and Loebig Ink Summer Intern

social-media-and-youthIn 2015, it is now easier to access the internet than ever before. This easily leads to the misuse of the technology that we are provided with but not everybody misusing it. Studies show that the age group of 12-21 access social media more than any other. Being that I fall into this age group I know that social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat is used to keep up with the latest trends, our favorite artists and an easy way to stay up to date with what our peers are doing.

But, how has this turned into more? We have became so immune to being able to contact someone with just the tap of a screen, that we can have an entire conversation with someone in the same room as us without saying one word. We’d rather Snapchat a picture to one of our friends than to actually go see them. We have officially been labeled as the “Dumbest generation” by author Mark Bauerlein, due to our heavy use of technology. I am very aware that my generation doesn’t use technology for much more than social media, which in many ways is the same as misusing technology. Although social life is a very powerful temptation, the only way it impacts us is socially unless we allow it to do otherwise. Teenagers are simply impacted by what they allow to influence their life.

Here are five ways I have seen technology have a negative influence on youth:

  1. The social websites become their first priority, rather than the things that should come first such as school, family and sports.
  2. People portray themselves as someone they’re not.
  3. Young people can begin to cyberbully another peer; this can lead to many things such as depression and suicidal thoughts.
  4. Some youth are easily influenced so they may feel the need to change their physical appearance by comparing themselves to the next person they see in the media.
  5. Social media is a very powerful temptation, so it can also become addicting and begin to start sidetracking the youth.

There are also a lot of benefits that come from social media and the internet for teenagers. For a lot of people in my age group social media is an outlet for thoughts that they are able to share with their peers. Websites where you can interact with others your age means a lot to teenagers because it is a form of self expression. As we begin to get older it is very important to know who you are and what you want to do with your life, through social media you can easily find this out. So before we get into our serious years we might as well practice how to express ourselves in a respectful way. Also social media is an easy way to connect with people all throughout the area that you live in. In my age group a lot of very close friendships have been formed through social media and have helped to benefit each other in multiple ways. The reason social media makes it so easy to create bonds is your allowed to express your likes and dislikes, which people can easily relate to. As many ways as people believe that social media is bad, it can also provide a lot of good, you just have to use it for the right things.

Five ways I have seen technology have a positive influence on youth:

  1. Keeps connections between friends when they’re not always able to see each other when they want to.
  2. Social media also keeps you up to date with things that are going on around the world rather than just in your area.
  3. It gives youth a place to express themselves in a way that a public place wouldn’t allow us to.
  4. It helps to develop social skills, a lot of friendships can stem from a social website.
  5. It’s a fun way to interact with your peers, other than seeing them in person.

In conclusion, social media can have both a beneficial and negative impact on the youth of my generation. It can help youth prosper in so many different ways. As well as hold them down in various ways. The impact that social media has on us is up for us to decide!

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