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Social Media and Teenage Behavior Essay

Social Media and Teenage Behavior Essay.

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Social Media and Teenage Behavior Essay

Social Media and Teenage Behavior

Executive Summary

Advance in technology has led to more human interaction from across all backgrounds. Connections established via the social media have opened up the world for information sharing and building of relationships. Today, extensive use of media social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has created linkages that would not have otherwise occurred between individuals and firms. The main advantage of online networking has been the fact that it offsets the barrier of long distances. Thus, in the current world, you can interact with a friend at the click of a button in the comfort of wherever location you may be

Most teenagers use social media to connect and share with friends across the globe. Unfortunately, most online relationships are superficial and it is difficult to establish an intimate connection like the one that could be sourced from close contact communication. More so, it is difficult to determine the realities surrounding one’s life based on what they post on social media. Teenagers are also susceptible to cyber bulling, creating problems like low self-esteem and depression which can lead to suicidal ideation. These challenges expose a gap in parenting, which has to be filled by regulation of the time children should spend on the screens of their computers and phones. Apart from creating a deficit in real contact relations, social media has confers the challenge of easy spread of unethical content. There is an increasing need for offering online campaign awareness against cyber bullies all social media platforms. In addition to this there is need for increased advocacy for strict regulations on filtering of content that traffics through the internet.

Introduction

Today, social interactions take place predominantly across social media platforms. As a result, adolescent behavior is being shaped by the social media. Peer pressure is no longer limited to the classroom or even the school. It now incorporates a global peer group linked through online chat rooms. All this process happens without any form of adult supervision. Many positive aspects can result from exposure to varied perspectives across social media. It can be the medium through which global change occurs. Technology can unite people spread over the long distances. This power makes the voices strong across the social media. However, this unlimited freedom of the World Wide Web, which means the influence of social media in shaping the behavior of the teenagers, is not always positive.

This study attempts to determine the negative impact of social media among teenagers. The importance of this research is that today, technology determines the self-esteem and well-being of teenagers (Valkenburg, Jochen, and Schouten 574-590). The perspectives of complete strangers projected over a screenshot, or the feedback received over a profile picture determines the degree of self-worth teenager’s experience. Further, social media also determines the number and the type of relationships formed. The inevitable result of such power is that social media leads to negative consequences in the teenage life.

The goal of this project is to find out the negative influences created by social media, on teenagers. There are several objectives which will guide this project. The first target will be to identify the most dominant channels of social media that affect teenagers. It will then explore the importance of social media in building and maintaining relationships. Next, the project will attempt to isolate the critical aspects of teenage behavior which are influenced by the social media. Further, it will examine the dangers and risks the teenagers face because of such influences. Finally, the research will focus on the extent to which teenagers know how to recognize the negative impacts of social media. The conclusion of the project will be to discover the ways to persuade teenagers to take only the positives influences resulting from this intense exposure to social media.

The finding of this research will be helpful in creating deeper awareness about how influential social media is in the teenage life and why it has such power. This knowledge will then help to open communication channels between the adults and the teenagers.  The way teenagers are monitored by parents, teachers, and institutions, and how their problems are addressed, at home, in the school, and in the society, may also change. It might highlight the aspects of education delivery that need to be enhanced to incorporate this element of teenage life. The findings may also lead to changes in the community policy relating to the juvenile offenders.

Procedures:

This research will use secondary sources to evaluate the two negative effects of social media on teenagers; effect on friendships and behavior as well as the advent of cyber bullying. An interview with a social media and communications expert will also be discussed in this paper. The feasibility of the several methods to curb the negative effects of social media will also be evaluated by analysis of several research papers.

Data analysis will begin with categorizing the data collected according to specific ages. This sorted data will then be combined to create common themes. The open coding technique will be used to classify data. This method relates to the analytical process of breaking up, examining, conceptualizing, and reconstructing the data to form a new assumption (Corbin & Strauss 3). Statistics will then be used to show the frequency of certain types of negative influences. The validity of the research findings may be limited by geography since the participants are in one area. This restriction means the conclusions may not be representative of the country. Also, some of them may not be willing to reveal personal details relating to their problems. Therefore, the accuracy of the information provided cannot be guaranteed. However, the researcher will convince the participants that the information obtained will be used only for academic purposes.

Qualifications and Sources

The first requirement for carrying out this project is to have first-hand experiences of the negative influences of social media. For a college student, who is also a former addict to the internet, such experiences are intense. Also, the knowledge gained through the course, Media in Society (JTC100), and being an active participant in many social projects will also ensure the effectiveness of this project.

The sources that will be used to obtain more profound insights on the magnitude of the problems created by social media on teenagers are The Effect of Twitter on College Student Engagement and Grades (Junco, Heilbegert & Loken) and The Influence of Mass Media on Teenagers (Jevtic). Further, Open Coding (Khandkar)will be used to obtain a more straightforward understanding of data collection and analysis.

Results

Teenagers and young adults derive more pleasure in online interactions than face to face exchanges. Over 80 % of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 averagely have 300 friends on social media platforms. In reality, among these friends, they have only made face-to-face contact with less than a quarter of them (Best et al, 28). Virtual online friendships have thus overwritten the value of intimate relationships. Far from this, it is easier to connect with distant family members and schoolmates via the social media than having to travel all the way for an exchange.

Most teenagers resolve to attach more importance on friendships acquired through social media simply for the gratification of their ego. Status updates and the number of likes, and the pokes that one makes in a day on their timeline are key attracters of friendship requests. Unfortunately, most online relationships are superficial and it is difficult to establish an intimate connection like the one that could be sourced from close contact communication. More so, it is difficult to determine the realities surrounding one’s life based on what they post on social media (Huang, et l, 13). Actually, it has been reveal by studies that a lot of internet users post updates that conceal negative emotions and experiences. It is important for parents and teachers to use ways of boosting the self-esteem of their children to prevent them from trying to attain it from the social media.

It has been shown that mental health and the likelihood of an individual to suffer from depressive disorders. Social support from friends made through the internet can be used to offer consolation during difficult time (Huangs et al, 11). Some people feel more free in sharing their inner struggles with the virtual friends they’ve never met than talking to someone they know. This offers some form of psychotherapy and has been attributed to helping internet acquaintances achieve recovery from miserable circumstances. Other social media consumers testify that close communications on a face-to-face level offers more passionate support than online caching or video calling via skype.

Losing on the importance to connect to people close to an individual has been a major impact of digital communication. Texting has become the most common mode of communication. On average, teens send over 3000 text messages per month and this can be used to deduce the time they dedicate to virtual friendships at the cost of real interpersonal contact with peers. This creates a gap in parenting, which has to be filled by regulation of the time children should spend on the screens of their computers and phones. Apart from creating a deficit in real contact relations, social media has confers the challenge of easy spread of unethical content. It is distressing and hurtful for friends to share personal information without the consent of the owner. This can bring about social media drama and friendships may fall apart. For instance, approximately 26% of online users attest to conflicting with friends over sharing of information they termed as personal.

In an interview on the negative effects of social media among teenagers, Dr. Larry Patchin a professor of media and communications, dissects the issue of cyber bullying. When asked to describe the difference between bulling in school and that that takes place online, Dr. Larry Patchin states that, whereas physical bullying brings physical torture, virtual bullying via texts and posts on social media brings about psychological torture to the target (Robi et al, 13). He further observes that most parents do not notice this until it gets too late and the teenager may end up in depression. Larry explains that children would experience social problems when relating with their peers and parents after the ordeal of bullying. On other effects of bullying, the academician, who has done several research studies on cyber bullying expounded that a child’s performance in school may even drop due to the psychological disturbance that the child may be experiencing. Additionally, the fear of undergoing through another episode of bullying interferes with a child’s freedom to interact with other people. Such a limitation of forming social cycles creates loneliness. The emotional disruption that comes with bullying as well alters physiological patterns of sleep and willingness to feed may change (Robi, 11)

“Many may not know this, but it is important to make a note that cyber bullying may even lead to suicidal ideation”, Larry explains. However, it all depends on the vulnerability of the subject, because some teens are more likely to succumb to this than others”. He explains that the teenagers who have the highest susceptibility are those with low self-esteem concerning how they look, feel, think or even dress. These teenagers are the best candidates for a bully. This defenselessness makes the oppressor gain confidence in exploiting the weaknesses of their target to greater and greater extends (Valkenburg, 11).

On the statics that are available about cyber bullying, Larry states that, “According to a 2014-2015 study entitled School Crime Supplement, 7% of learners between sixth and twelfth grades experienced cyberbullying” (Robi et al, 21). He elucidated that the number of cases of online bullying were alarmingly on the rise as compared to statistics that existed before this study. He admitted that there a standardized way of assessing the trends of this crime is non-existent since technology and the way teenagers interact online keep changing

Conclusion and Recommendations

Conclusions

In conclusion, social media brought about many negative effects on teenage behavior and negatively on friendships. As much social media has opened up the pool in which people can tap the greatest lot of new friends, it has as well contributed to crumbling of very many others. The effect of this platform on friendships and interpersonal bonding greatly depends on the motivation behind the user. Whereas most teenagers have many teenagers interact with many others on the internet on a daily basis, such interactions are superficial and usually do not give rise to strong relationships. The superficial nature of online interactions may not be beneficial in times when the teenager needs real advice on issues. Resorting to looking for solutions to issues from online friendships can be misguiding.

Use of social media can be quite detrimental to those with problems of self-esteem. Cyber bullies can take advantage of this and extort their emotions, leading to worsening of the crises. Depression and suicidal ideation are some of the worst outcomes of cyber bulling. There is need for care givers to regulate the time that teenagers spend on the internet. In addition to this, parents must remain vigilant of the content that their children can access and the type of sites they visit. This is so because some of these sites contain adult material that is likely to damage a teenager’s morals.

Recommendations  

Parents should monitor closely what their teenagers do online. Online users should learn how to protect their passwords, and conceal them from strangers. It is also important to log out from accounts once subscriber finishes on the online activity. There is an increasing need for offering online campaign awareness against cyber bullies all social media platforms (Allen, 19). In addition to this there is need for increased advocacy for strict regulations on filtering of content that traffics through the internet.

There is need to strengthen institutions in the bid to curb the mental health problems that may come with the use of social media. Teenagers are increasingly becoming over-dependent of social media as a source of entertainment, passing time and sharing of information. This has come with a plethora of mental health issues, including addiction, depression and concentration problems (Korda &Zena, 5). Instituting counselling programs that aim at offering help to those affected by this could be of great significance.

Works Cited

Allen, Kelly A., et al. “Social media use and social connectedness in adolescents: The positives and the potential pitfalls.” The Educational and Developmental Psychologist 31.1 (2014): 18-31.

Best, Paul, Roger Manktelow, and Brian Taylor. “Online communication, social media and adolescent wellbeing: A systematic narrative review.” Children and Youth Services Review 41 (2014): 27-36.

Corbin, Juliet and Strauss, Anslme. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory.  Sage Publications Inc., 2008. 3rd ed. p. 3.

Huang, Grace C., et al. “Peer influences: the impact of online and offline friendship networks on adolescent smoking and alcohol use.” Journal of Adolescent Health 54.5 (2014): 508-514.

Korda, Holly, and Zena Itani. “Harnessing social media for health promotion and behavior change.” Health promotion practice 14.1 (2013): 15-23.

Robi, Kowalski, Susan, Limber, and Patricia, Agatston .Cyberbullying: Bullying in the Digital Age. Los Angeles, LA: John Wiley & Sons, 2012.

Valkenburg, Patti, Jochen Peter, Alexander Schouten. Friend Networking Sites and their Relationship to Adolescents’ Well-Being and Social Self-Esteem. CyberPsychology & Behavior. vol. 9, no. 5, 11 Oct. 2006, pp. 584-590. doi: org/10.1089/cpb.2006.9.584

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