Social Media: Beneficial or detrimental?

Social Media: Beneficial or detrimental?

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Social media can have both positive and negative impacts on the youth of today, in the many ways it plays a part in our lives.

While social media can place unrealistic expectations on young people and can be distracting and addictive, it also allows individuals to stay connected with friends and family, and gives them access to instant news about international affairs.

While social media gives individuals the opportunity to meet new people, it also has great consequences for safety and relationships. It has been shown that there are approximately 845 million users on Facebook, 462 Twitter users, 135 million users on LinkedIn, and 50 million users on Flickr. These numbers give us an idea of how many people around the world are involved in social media, and the extent of their reach.

Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter also act as distraction for students, and potentially negatively impact their studies and marks. Studies show that approximately 95% of teenagers post comments, photos, and videos on social media platforms every day. The amount of time spent on the networks, and the amount of negativity that can be built there could possibly lead to great impacts on their academic life.

These social networks can also create a need to gain as many followers and likes as possible, in an attempt to raise self-esteem. This can place their mental and physical health at risk, causing many issues in young peoples lives. In today’s society, teenagers are faced with photo shopped images on social media and in advertisements, and can ultimately lead to young people placing unrealistic expectations on themselves, their appearance, and their bodies.

On the other hand, social media plays a major role in allowing people to meet and connect with their friends and families.  Research has shown that 64% of teens who have made a new friend online say they have met new friends on a social media platform. 62% of teens say they’ve shared their social media username with a brand new friend as a way to stay in touch. It can connect families from different countries and allow them to share their photos, videos and experiences.

Teenagers in today’s society are also gradually developing awareness on world issues, and social media provides them with a space to keep up to date with national and international news. Research shows that 60% of teenagers read and pay attention to news uploaded on social media, which can be beneficial as teenagers spend a large amount of time on social media. There is even academic benefit to these updates, with students using the latest news and current affairs in their studies of geography and media.

As such, social media is very much a double edged sword, with both negative and positive implications for young people. We believe that we all need to be aware of how we engage with online spaces and while these online spaces are a good place and give us access to a world of opportunities, we still need to be present in our day-to-day lives!

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