Impact of Social Media on Youth Essay
Social media has been ingrained into our society today to such extent that it is virtually impossible for people to take you seriously, if you are not on any social media platform. Everyone is on social media – young, old, rich, poor etc. Everyone is always in a frenzy when it comes to socializing online. Even the corporate world has jumped into the bandwagon and companies are very active online, posting updates and answering queries.
There are many social networks to choose from; some of the popular ones include Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. As the popularity of social media keeps on spreading all over the world, there have been mixed feelings about these networks and how they impact the youth. So, how does social media affect the youth?
To answer this question, we have to look at both the positive and negative impacts of social media on the youth. Going with the former first, social media has reduced the world to a global village. Youth can interact with people from other parts of the earth by just a click of the button.
Through these interactions, young people can share ideas, acquire information and also be exposed to many opportunities out there. Secondly, social media give them the avenue and opportunity to make new friends and also allows them to maintain their old friends. With social media, they can trace their former friends by simply typing their names or just indicating the school they attended. Then, the network will do all the dirty work and link them to all people they went to school with.
Apart from just socializing, the social networks have become frontiers for the corporate world to advertise their goods and services. They may either do it directly or pay celebrities to advertise their products for them. Therefore, social media offers an array of opportunities for youth. Popular young people can be hired by corporations to be their brand ambassadors online.
In addition, they can earn a considerable amount of money by running podcasts and vlogs. Social media is also an avenue that they can use to showcase their talents. Youth can also run businesses through social media. They may share whatever goods and services they offer to friends and in groups and for a wider coverage, they may sponsor their posts to reach more people.
It is also an avenue where people can express their honest opinions. People who are naturally shy may say whatever they wish in public forums, without the fear of serious repercussions. It is also a cheaper means of communication. What is required is just internet bandwidth and a few keystrokes and users can communicate with virtually anyone on earth. Social media has also made it possible for people to work from anywhere on earth. This is referred to as virtual teaming. Though hired in the same organization, these virtual workgroups are operate from different parts of the earth. However, their communication is done online.
On the flip side, the internet is an unregulated world that has no form of morals or laws to abide to. Young people are exposed to gore images of murder victims, accidents, rape cases or even video footages of gun shootings, violence, verbal outbursts, nudism and explicit sexual content. All these kinds of gore content are in the domain of young people and when consumed for a long time can lead to serious mental breakdowns. For instance, they will start having anxiety attacks and fear of the real world. Whatever they see is registered in their minds and they believe that the world is a bad place, but that is not entirely true. More than 90% of the earth is a safe haven with so many untapped opportunities.
Too much social media also leads to addiction. Society today is full of people seating next to each other, not talking, but just staring at their phones. Youths are spending more time with their social media friends than with their families, friends and loved ones. When they wake up, the first thing they check is their social media accounts. Before they go to sleep, the last thing they check are the updates.
At work, there is reduced productivity because people are busy spending working hours perusing through social media pages. With too many distractions, they cannot fully concentrate on their tasks. Take away social media for a day and the effects will start to kick in. Just like drug addicts, they will be withdrawn and stressed.
It also leads to uncontrollable obsession. People are obsessed with likes and comments and they will do anything to get them on a daily basis. Everything they do, they post them on forums to get some form of approval from strangers. Some people adopt fake personalities to show the world that they made it. They do things that they would never dare do in real life just to impress people. They work tirelessly to buy the latest outfits, eat expensive meals and visit exotic places just for a show. Since they cannot get the same love in real life like they do in social media, they dedicate their lives fully to the social networks. Everything falls apart however when their popularity wanes and they may get into serious psychological problems, such as depression.
These social platforms are also risky and dangerous and may be frontiers of crime. The first crime that comes to mind when we talk about social media is cyberbullying. Most people in social media fake both their personas and personal information. Then there are those who are actually themselves in social media.
Most times than not, the fake ones bully and humiliate the real ones. While many people may argue that it is not that serious and young people are just having fun. The truth of the matter is that some people get affected, especially when the insults revolve around their insecurities such as looks, religion or social status. Furthermore, it is quite easy to trace anyone using their social media information, such as location, school attended and place of work. So, if a criminal wanted to target at someone, the first place he will look for information is social media.
Social platforms also pose serious health hazards for users. Staring for long at the PC may lead to eye problems. Furthermore, avid users maintain a life of inactivity and lack of movement. They are therefore likely to suffer from obesity and are exposed to obesity-related diseases, such as heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Furthermore, they become socially inept. They cannot start conversations or interact with people.
This can be detrimental to their lives in the future, because to maintain relationships there has to be some form of communication. Also, the networks are full of trolls or individuals who gain fun spreading propaganda and false information. This can drive people into hysteria, if the fake news involves their friends and loved ones.
One major development in the corporate world is that employers monitor their employees’ social media accounts. So, if employees post things that put the company in a bad light, then the company has no option but to relieve them off their duties. People usually assume that the employer tolerates whatever the employees do online. As a result, the company’s image takes a heavy blow whenever its employees misbehave.
Lastly, social media takes away empathy from its users. We see people getting into trouble, but instead of getting help from the people present, their misfortune is recorded and the footages posted on social media. The poster expects likes and comments, while the others have a field day judging, mocking and making fun of the person recorded.
There are instances where people announce the challenges they are going through. It may be sickness or lose of a loved one or a broken relationship. We see people posting their condolences or consolation messages to make the poster feel good. The reality of the matter is that they do not feel any form of remorse.
They just do it out of natural conviction and forget about the incident as soon as they move to the next post. As for the person suffering, he/she does not feel any better. In fact, a person who is physically visited by few friends and loved ones feels much better than a person who gets a million messages on social media with no actual visits.
As Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Social media is a great way to pass time and see whatever is happening around the world. It is very interesting and also very addictive. However, social media is eclipsed by so many challenges, because it is unregulated.
The creators of these networks did not anticipate that their creations would be centers of crime and social decay. Doing away with social media may not be practical or advantageous to society. However, some form of regulation should be put into place to ensure that people responsible for all lewd and violent stuff on the internet are brought to book.