The growth of social media has caught teens’ attention, and now social media is one of the worst addictions found in this young group. Millions of teens across the world interact with each other via social media. According to the article, ¨Influence of Social Media on Teenagers” by Suren Ramasubbu, ¨75 percent of teenagers in America currently have profiles on social networking sites, of which 68 percent use Facebook as their main social networking tool.¨. Other networking sites include Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. It is staggering that over ¾ of adolescents have and use social networking sites. The growing numbers of users is contributing to the addiction to networking.
As shown in the article, ¨Social Media Addiction¨, researchers have found users are influenced by the idea of virtual lives, ¨In so doing, the ways in which one’s real life aligns with one's virtual life are telling and have become useful fodder for ongoing research.¨ . When people imagine their virtual life they conjure up an ideal life. When a person’s actual life is not how they imagine it, they create a replacement fake one. Virtual lives can lead to many severe problems in the future particularly for shy and anxious people. Besides becoming too involved with their virtual lives thus feeding their addiction, users can become self-conscious about their virtual lives, changing them often.
Teens also think they need to keep up with modern day trends, fashion, and celebrities, in order to be noticed. According to an article by Aurelie Krakowsky, “They also put too much effort into following trends they see online instead of being themselves.”. Lexi Duley is a teenager who also suffers from an addiction to social media. She has experienced feeling the need to keep up with trends in order to feel satisfied with her life. When adolescents feel the need to keep up with trends and their virtual lives, they can become even more addicted to social media. Teens who become addicted to social media become distracted from their real life and pulled into the blackhole of their virtual life.
Social media raises many issues that greatly impact the lives of young adults, but one of the main concerns is cyberbullying. According to the article, “Influence of Social Media on Teenagers”, “Pew also found that nearly 39 percent of teens on social network have been cyberbullied in some way, in contrast to the 22 percent of online teens who do not use social networks.”. It is astounding to learn that more teenagers have been cyberbullied online rather than the 22 percent who do NOT have social media. Cyberbullying can cause many extreme problems in the future such as anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
Another long term problem with social media is teens becoming disconnected from reality. In the article, “Influence of Social Media on Teenagers” , the author states that there are many extensive risks associated with social media. They include loss of privacy, sharing too much information, and disconnection from reality. When teens disconnect from reality, they can lose sight of many important factors about modern day life. Teens become addicted and disconnected which means they might not be able to learn very important lessons they need for their future life.
When teens get cyber bullied online they can develop anxiety around social media and other users. According to an article by Joseph C. Viola, after cyberbullied teens become very anxious and shy with other people and around social media. If this happens to teens then they can be very shy and not have important social skills they need for the future such as, obtaining a job and meeting important people. False self-representation means the teens are lying to themselves. The addiction to social media has caused long term effects on young adults that need special solutions.
How to Help
Since many teens are negatively affected by social media, parents and victims need to be aware of what they can do to stop the problems. The internet is a very public place, and therefore, parents should be more involved in what their kids are doing online. The article, “Influence of Social Media on Teenagers”, states that childhood is the time to look out and realize what the real world is all about, evidently parents should be part of the process. Parents should also become a part of social media, but they should not hover. They need to be aware of what their kids are doing on social media in order to make sure they are safe. The same article shows the reader how parents and caregivers can and should be involved in social media. If teens do not want their parents to have access to their social media, the parents need to warn them of the dangers of social media.