In this 21st century, with the advancement of technology, the internet is available to everyone, no longer being confined to metropolitan cities or internet cafes. It has crossed the threshold and is available at our fingertips. With the spread of the internet, there is a rise in the use of social media and specially there is a hike in usage by teens. Though there is an age limit provided by some of these social media platforms but there is no hard and fast rule and by just altering your birth year, you’re good to go.
Using Social media has its own set of pros and cons. They affect a child in both positive as well as negative ways. There is an ongoing debate about whether or not high school goers should be allowed to use social media. But, the harsh truth is that it is beyond our control. So we have to digest the fact that teens will use social media even if we don’t want them to.
Depression and Anxiety
“We are a depressed generation with happy profiles on Social Media.” Social media sometimes leaves a child depressed and anxious. Using social media as a platform to maintain friendships has rotten the very meaning of friendship. Teens now spend most of their time scrolling through Instagram, tagging friends on Facebook and uploading snaps instead of actually meeting your friends, hanging out with them and creating memories. Though “We are never alone”, we always have our friends with us via social media but the detachment from the real world and always connected via virtual world leaves us depressed and alone.
A Virtual fake world
Teenage is an age where we are the most conscious about everything, about grades, about looks, about our bodies. There is no end to our worries. And with Social media a recent trend has started of “showing off”. Who has the best life or who has the prettiest face or the hourglass or well built body. Teens have made it their agenda to fit into the image which they have created in their minds. Thus, it has a very negative impact on such fragile minds. They grow up to believe that whatever they see is real and if they don’t maintain the standards, they won’t be accepted. Thus they tend to be more anxious about themselves. “How great everyone else seems” is a major misconception in teenager’s minds today.
Addiction to Social Media
Social media is not liked by parents because they form “addiction.” Teenagers spend most of their time in their phones, chatting, scrolling. Instead, of spending time in their hobbies, such as playing, dancing, singing, painting, or whatever it may be. Instead of using their free time to enhance their creativity, it makes them dull, just sitting in front of the screen all day long.
But the most negative influence of Social media is “Cyber Bullying”. Bullying is no more confined to Schools and now comes ghosting into our personal space. Social media provides a platform of indirect communication, because of which children can easily text or message things they would have never dared to speak in a thousand years. As a result, bullying is more cruel. On social media and with such a tender age, everything matters. Even a negative comment on your picture or a “haha” react on your dp. Sometimes the bullies even form gangs to bring down a particular victim by slandering him/her with abusive comments and negative posts. But they can also be bullied by being ignored by fellow classmates.
Though we have a lot of prejudices against social media, in recent times it has proved itself to be a boon. Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic, Whatsapp became the major platform for Schools and Academic institutions to share their study materials. Groups are created as per their subjects or their classes. Social media has given them a platform where they can ask their queries whenever they want. They can ask it to their teachers or fellow classmates. There is no restriction of time.
Even platforms like Zoom class, through which a student could virtually, of course attend a class. It also provides the way through which a student could ask his doubts and clarify them. So, if there hadn’t been any Social media, there would have been more damage to the students academically. Though it can’t compete with real-time classroom teaching. But it is the best option we have for now, looking at the situation.
Social media have become an integral part of our lives and we cannot keep our teens away from it. But we can teach them technology etiquette so that it will keep them out of trouble’s reach. Talk to them and teach them that reel life is different from real life. “Life is more beautiful in real than what it seems on Social Media.”