This article is Part 2 of a debate over the merits and problems of social media use among teenagers. To read about the benefits, see “5 reasons why teens should have social media” by Estella Tong.
In our dynamic world, technological advancements have undeniably become an important part of life; not only we can easily get information and facts by researching on the internet, they also allow business people to gather relevant customer data and provide international services. Social media especially creates a greater avenue for people to interact across the globe. Sadly, if teenagers and adolescents lack good judgement, they may blindly follow what they see or envy their friends’ experiences. This may cause depression and severe effects on their overall behavior. Here are some examples how social media can affect teens negatively:
1. Peer Pressure and Media Depression
According to a study, over 80% of teenagers get online much more frequently than they need because they are afraid of missing the chance to interact with their friends online.
Getting online so often is totally unnecessary – we see teens talking screen to screen instead of face to face even though they’re sitting less than five meters away from each other. This generation isn’t as good at interacting in real life already because their social interaction experiences have been taken over by social media. This may have negative effects to their careers – conferences and interviews can’t be done by texting.
Modeling plays an important role in many different types of behavioral issues, including internet addiction. If most of a person’s peers use the internet excessively, the behavior may seem more acceptable.
Another serious problem is that teens like to gush over the lifestyles of rich and famous social media celebrities, and try to mirror them in their daily lives. While worrying too much about the amount of “likes” or “shares” they get, they often get a form of emotional disturbance and fall into depression. After some time, they forget the meaning of their lives and stop achieving their own goals.
2. Sleep Deprivation
Studies have shown that increasing social media use is related to poor sleep quality.
In January, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study which found that people who spend a lot of time on social media are more likely to suffer sleep disturbances.
“We already know about the link between technology and sleep problems but not about the nature of social media and its unique association with sleep disturbances,” says Dr. Jessica Levenson, a clinical psychologist and co-author of the study. “Social media could affect sleep because of the light emitted from the screen, because the content is emotionally engaging or because people just get caught up doing it and go to bed later – or it could be a combination of all three,” Jessica continues.
Using phones, laptops, and tablets at night before bed habitually is definitely linked with poor quality sleep.
Neil Kline, an internist in Pennsylvania and also a representative of the American Sleep Association, once said, “When animals, including humans, are deprived of sleep, there are many body systems that fail. Not only does our performance, memory and attention span suffer, our immune system and endocrine system [are] also impaired.”
If students don’t get enough sleep, they can easily get tired and won’t concentrate in class. It is then more likely that they will fail tests or be scolded by teachers. Even worse, this may cause conflicts between parents and children.
As the number of social media users increases rapidly, cyberbullying cases are becoming serious problems. In fact, kids all around the world are impacted by cyberbullying every day. Since teenagers care about friendship and popularity so much, the “cool” kids often make fun of the kids who aren’t. The motivation behind this action may be showing power, for revenge, even just to alleviate boredom and so on; some kids even feel that the victims deserve it.
Even though most kids understand this isn’t a nice thing to do, with a false sense of security that the internet gives, kids believe that it’s harder to be found or caught bullying online. Also, they sometimes don’t have the awareness that they’re making others angry – they think it’s not that big of a problem.
4. Internet Addiction
Internet addiction has become a world-wide issue among young people.
Smartphone and internet addiction can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain, especially in young people, according to a research at the Radiological Society of North America.
We can’t deny that the internet can be constructive, but it is important for teens to be aware of how much time they spend on it each day. Many addicted kids sit down wanting to look for pieces of information or have a small chat; however, they often end up spending more time than they expected or are even unable to leave the computer. Once they start using the internet, they forget everything else, even losing interest in their other hobbies.
A 14-year-old student in Taichung played hooky from school because he was so obsessed with the internet that he had to get online at least eight hours a day. After his parents disabled his internet connection, he even expressed an intention to commit suicide.
This is why some psychologists and mental health professionals are debating adding internet addiction to the list of mental disorders.
Kids don’t always make the smartest choices, so social media can be dangerous in a lot of ways. First, as the number of social media users is increasing rapidly, more criminals have been caught online in the past few years. We can’t really identify whether a stranger is reliable or friendly before meeting them in person, and you never know if you are a target. Online predators have catfished many teens by creating a fake Facebook profile and pretending to be an attractive guy. They then ask the deceived teens to meet them offline. Most adults are confident that their kids know the potential pitfalls associated with the internet, but it turns out that many kids don’t learn this lesson until it’s too late.
In conclusion, it’s definitely not a good idea to let teens use social media. They don’t know enough about how many problems and laws are involved before they act. Using social media is unnecessary and it has plenty negative effects – it takes away our time and health and gives us depression, generates danger, low efficiency in learning, and the risk of going to jail. Social media isn’t worth that much, is it?