Social media has a huge impact on every aspect of a teenager’s life. It is a daily part of a teenager’s life and heavily influences their behaviour, mindset, skills, and even aspirations. Here are some of the positive and negative influences of social media on teenagers –
Positive Influences of Social Media on Teenagers
#1. Create awareness
Traditionally, teenagers weren’t exposed to the numerous issues of the world. But with social media, they’re being shown several cultural and political issues that affect nations and societies, which is essential to developing morally responsible and aware citizens of the future.
#2. Develop social skills
Many teenagers are socially awkward. Social media gives them the opportunity to expand their social circles, cultivate new friendships and relationships, find like-minded individuals with whom they can freely discuss their interests, boost confidence and build networks. Used in the right manner, social media is a powerful medium for developing and honing social skills.
#3. Provide inspiration
Social media is full of powerful and inspiring stories of people who have achieved their dreams, overcome obstacles, created an impact on their societies or countries. This serves as an inspiration, especially for teenagers who are trying to figure out their place in the world. There are also several social influencers who have achieved success in their respective fields. Many teenagers look up to these influencers, believe in them, and religiously follow them. This could play a huge role in instilling the right values and steering them away from harmful habits and addictions.
Negative Influences of Social Media on Teenagers
#4. Internet addiction
Teenagers spend a lot of time on social media. Several teens wake up in the middle of the night and logging into their social media accounts. Uncontrolled use of social media leads to internet addiction, which affects their mental health, performance in school, and personal development. It also causes sleep deprivation. As teenagers need more sleep than adults do, a lack of sleep can cause tiredness, irritability and even affect the immune system, making them more susceptible to illness.
Cyberbullying is the most common form of bullying that uses social media to threaten, harass, embarrass or target a specific person. As teenagers spend an increasing amount of time online, it’s quite likely that they either witness or suffer from cyberbullying.
In most situations, teenagers don’t report cyberbullying due to lack of awareness, fear and shame. They tend to internalise the effects, causing depression and self-destructive behaviour. Cyberbullying is more dangerous as it leads to more suicidal thoughts than traditional bullying.
#6. Communication issues
While teenagers use social media a lot to stay in touch with their friends and families, it isn’t a substitute to face-to-face communication. While communicating over social media, one cannot detect facial expressions or the tone of the voice, which could easily cause misunderstandings, especially when employing humour or sarcasm. Also, when social media takes more importance over everyday interactions, teenagers end up not building authentic relationships or friendships.
Since a lot of physical, mental, and emotional development happens during the teenage years, it is important to realise the impact of social media on teenagers. Helping them understand what matters, having discussions and setting some usage guidelines will greatly help make these effects more positive and manageable.