By Germany Kent
For teens, social media is an essential part of their lives, much the way pagers and telephones were important to us at their age. Social media has led teens into believing that you have to have a certain lifestyle more so than when we were growing up. The impact of social media on youth is now at the forefront of concern of many educators, pediatricians, and parents. Here is a harsh reality check about teens and social media.
1. Social media creates a false reality
Social media has created jealous behavior over illusions. Sadly, some kids are envious of things, relationships, and lifestyles that don't even exist. A study in the UK found that 51% of teens said their behavior had changed to negative because of a decline in confidence they felt due to unfair comparisons to others. The Internet never sleeps and thus is delivering reinforcement every time they log on. This ongoing reinforcement makes teens feel like they are missing out. This type of pattern evokes anxiety and causes them to question why everyone is having fun without them. When in reality, what they are viewing is not always the case at all.
2. Social media is addictive
Likes and comments are positive reinforcement. Few are able to resist going online to see if any new comments or likes have been added. Studies show that most teenagers log into their social media accounts a minimum of 10 times per day. About 90% of teens have used some form of social media and 75% have a profile on a social networking site.
3. Social media encourages copycats
In an effort to "fit-in", may teens may try something new just to post content that they may not have ever tried had it not been displayed to them by someone else on social media. Sometimes teens will do things to make people like them trying to please everyone. Teens don't always make the smartest choices when they post something to a site like Vine, Snapchat or YouTube and usually, the fall-out is greater for the copycat than the person who posted the original message.
4. Social media affects social behavior
This generation is greatly influenced by the Internet and cell phones and research indicates that a large part of their social and emotional development is occurring while they are online. Further studies have proven that the effects of social media can range from positive to negative and that not only are youth affected but so are their families and inner social circles. What is interesting is that researchers found that kids who are more anxious and socially insecure are more likely to use social networking sites.
5. Social media has a psychological effect on teens
Researchers have found that teens that spend a great deal of time online may be at a risk of depression. This is directly related to rejection, or online harassment, which causes anxiety, sadness, difficulty concentrating, drop in grades, irritability, and insomnia. A teen's desire of gaining peer acceptance online also causes them to separate from parents.
6. Social media is an open invitation for cyberbullying
Online bullying is one of the most serious dangers facing teens in the digital age. An organization aimed at Internet safety called Enough is Enough, found that 95% of teenagers who use social media have witnessed cyberbullying and 33% have been victims themselves. Girls are twice as likely to be victims and perpetrators whereas; boys are more likely to be the victims of threats when it comes to cyberbullying. Bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide. In 2016, over 4500 kids committed suicide directly related to cyberbullying.
Germany Kent writes and speaks about the ethics of social media, branding on social media and the impact of cyberbullying on today's youth. She advocates to end cyberbullying and promotes the use of manners and positivity in digital age communication. She uses her campaign 'You Are What You Tweet' to educate, and evoke emotion in people about Internet etiquette. Kent is an award-winning journalist, professional speaker, best-selling author, media personality and global social media influencer who has been ranked as one of the Top 100 leaders in social media marketing, named Top 100 people to follow on Twitter, Top 25 individuals & brands in social media marketing, and amongst the Top 15 most influential social media marketing influencers on Twitter.
Kent has appeared across all mediums (TV, radio, print, online) and has been featured and interviewed as a national authority on social media in Fast Company, Bloomberg Business, Inc. Magazine, The Examiner, Hartford Business, Herald Tribune, Yahoo News, and countless others. Guest appearances on radio and television include NPR, Money Matters Radio, iHeart Radio, CBS, Blog Talk Radio, FOX, The CW, ABC, & NBC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.