Teenage Challenge

How does social media affect teenagers?

Online is old news; while online in social media is today’s news. Social media is no more a subset of the internet; social media itself is the internet. So, when used in excess, don’t you think a teenager’s parents must use child monitoring apps?

The internet came out of nowhere and changed everything, including childhood.  Whether this change is for the better or worse depends upon your outlook. To protect teenagers from the onslaught of social media, parents must use parental control.

Bit Guardian Parental control app can be a true accomplice as it allows parents to track the kids, to monitor and limit their screen activities, and to block inappropriate content. Install the app now!

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Why teenagers are most affected by social media

Teenagers are among the most prolific users of social media. Emerging studies find that youth spend a considerable amount of their time interacting through social media.

Most of the children might not help their ailing mothers in the kitchen, but would be quick to suggest to order something online. When having a ball, Halloween or any other party – they would resort to online shopping. They play games online, post videos on social networking sites, binge watch web series on online platforms.

Teens today are the first generation that finds it difficult to imagine life without the Internet. Unfortunately, electronic gadgets have become extensions of our bodies. People are in two minds about the effects of social media and its impacts on youth.

Read More – Protect Teens from Cybersecurity Threats

Let us understand what they are.

Advantages of social media on teenagers

  • Teens struggling with mental health issues or living in isolation can find support and friendship through the use of social media. Connecting with small groups of children online might prove beneficial to teens.
  • Social networking plays a crucial role in broadening a teen’s social connections and helping them learn valuable technical skills. 
  • Social media makes socializing easy and approachable. Teens having problems with social skills, social anxiety, or the ones having difficulty in accessing face-to-face socializing with other teens might benefit from connecting with other teens through social media.
  • When used appropriately, it can strengthen friendships as a real group of friends can encourage teens to explore and pursue their dreams.
  • Teens with outstanding social agenda can make videos regarding the same and trend it on platforms like Twitter to reach a broader audience.
  • No longer bound by geographic borders or physical distance; children get exposure to various cultures, ideas, and important issues across the globe.

Consequently, they start appreciating social media as a way to help and support people despite being far away.

  • Many social media platforms work as channels for creative self-expression. If a child is interested in any art-related activity such as photography, film, written works, and illustrations, experts can offer valuable suggestions and feedback.

 Disadvantages of social media on teenagers

  • Teenagers spending more time on social media have more risk of reporting eating disorders and body image concerns.
  • The artificial blue light emanating from smartphones activates neurons in the brain, which disrupts the body’s ability to produce melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. So, the more time young adults spent on social media, the more likely they are to have problems falling asleep.
  • Lack of sleep wreaks havoc on their immune system and also leaves them feeling drowsy and fatigued all the time. In life’s most deciding and productive years, they are unable to concentrate on the important tasks, such as career.  
  • For youngsters, ‘likes’ on social media are directly associated with popularity. Persons getting fewer likes start questioning their self-worth and feel like being rejected on a digital platform.

Even Facebook had to take notice of the issue. As a tasting phase in  Australia, they’ve started hiding the ‘like counter’ on the timeline and news feed.

  • To get noticed on social media, teens sometimes go the extreme length, like, altering their appearance, engaging in negative behavior.
  • One who’s not heard of ‘blue whale challenge’ must be living under a rock. The admins of the game succeeded in finding the most vulnerable teens and made them believe that they were special. Game convinced/forced teens to commit suicide as the final task.
  • While conventional bullying is still prevalent, we are combating the digital version of bullying. Cyberbullying is the use of technology to bully a person or group to harm them socially, psychologically, or physically. Teens, of course, are the primary targets of cyberbullies.
  • Children are impressionable. Teens can’t help comparing their lives to their friends’ ‘perfect reel life.’ From physical appearance to the state of affairs, everything is under the radar on social media.
  • Teens have extensive ‘fake friends list’ on digital platforms. The more people they have on the friend list, the more people get privy to their photos and updates and might use them for sinister purposes.
  • Teens are always found online than they do in person. Sometimes to draw a fine line between ‘reel’ and ‘real’ becomes a challenge, which can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • When social media takes center stage in a person’s life, friendships and dating relationships take a back seat. As a result, teens are at risk of developing relationships that are shallow and unauthentic.

 How to redeem children from social media

  • Keep the lines of communication open and encourage your child to come forward with online safety or cyberbullying concerns. Teach your child about various forms of cyberbullying and what to do if they ever fall victim.
  • Get involved in the social gathering that excites your child. Help them to strike a balance between social media and real-life friendships.
  • Let your teen know that you are always there to support, not to judge or scold them.

Refrain from using a smartphone during weekends and show your teen that there is a whole real world out there that does not require a handheld screen. 

  • It is essential to establish guidelines for social media use as significant brain development takes place during the teen years.
  • Ask them to change passwords every three months to intensify security.

Families should have regular discussions on how to use social media responsibly and safely. A teen’s online world becomes much more manageable when families navigate the world of social media together.

It’s the parents’ responsibility to set a good example of what healthy computer usage looks like. Parents need to curtail their dependence on technology to minimize the risks associated with it.

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