Social media is perhaps the most recent technological advancement in the world today. Applications that are internet based have made transfer of information fast and efficient. This has in turn made communication between people as well as organizations easy and reliable. However, given the fact that a big percentage of the global population comprises of young teenagers and children, they happen to be the largest users of social media platforms. Research conducted in various nations indicates that children and teenagers spend most of their time on social media sites than they do on other websites and mobile sites. For instance, “the total time spent on social media in the U.S. across PC and mobile devices increased by 37 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012 compared to 66 billion minutes in July 2011” (“State of the media: The social media report” par. 1). These statistics affirm the fact that social media has gained a lot of popularity in the recent past especially among the young generation. This paper is therefore an in-depth analysis of the influence of different social media platforms in the lives of teenagers and children.
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Social media takes different forms ranging from written forms such as magazines to internet and mobile forms for example social blogs, social networks, and video just to mention but a few. The aforementioned internet forms are further classified into Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube respectively, which are the focus of this essay. Facebook is a social networking website where people and organizations are able to post their thoughts and ideas on their page thus giving their friends a chance to comment (Watts 367). Twitter on the other hand emphasizes on blogging while YouTube entails posting videos to the web.
Social media has several positive influences in the lives of children and young teenagers with the main impact being its role in the development of technical and social skills. Children and young teenagers are in the developmental stages of their lives hence social media helps them gain skills that they can apply in the modern society. In addition to this, they are able to learn many things on their own without having to involve their parents or teachers. Social media also plays a key role in the improvement of communication and interaction of children and young teenagers making them able to create relationships with people they have never met physically. The Science Daily argues that the “young adults who spend more time on Facebook are better at showing ‘virtual empathy’ to their online friends” (“Social networking” 4).
There has been a lot of criticism regarding the use of social media by children and young teenagers. This criticism is pegged on the fact that children and young teenagers have not developed fully and are not able to make decisions on their own. Additionally, this makes them prone to cyber bullying, child trafficking, and pornography because of their susceptibility (Watts 374). Constant exposure to social media platforms by children and young teenagers eventually leads to development of various health problems and psychological disorders for example depression and anxiety among others. Most young teenagers and children are school going hence social media negatively influences their learning activity by distracting them.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the negative influences of social media on children and young teenagers outweigh the positive influences. As such, parents are expected to monitor the internet and mobile activities of their children and young teenagers until they become young adults.
“Social networking’s good and bad impacts on kids.” Science Daily 2011:1. American Psychological Association. Web.
State of the media: The social media report 2012. Web.
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Watts, Duncan. Six degrees: The science of a connected age. London: Vintage, 2003. Print.