AUTHOR’S NOTES ON SOCIAL MEDIA
One of the inventions that come with the Digital or information age is the Social media; Facebook, Twitter, Whassup, Viber, Instagram, Snapchat, linkin.
The main dangers of social media we think of first that teens tend to face are Sexting, predators, cyberbullying.
Off course, these activities are very
damaging. Teenagers consistently press boundaries and take risks, some with serious consequences.
But it often starts with the more subtle, everyday dangerous things kids do online like the ones below.
Things teens do on social media that can be harmful. ⚠️
- Exposing of privacy.
Most Teenagers aren’t thinking beyond the attention they receive today. They simply took selfies and post it online. Some of this selfies are taken in bedrooms, bathrooms, wild parties, kitchens or while kissing their boyfriends or dancing provocatively. Research has shown
taking a ‘selfie’ increase people’s social sensitivity and reduce their self-esteem.
Teens do not realise that these pictures can cause them a job in the near future when employers want to do a background check on their past online activities. This pictures can also be manipulated or use against them by someone who doesn’t like them.
- Creating a False Image or Identity.👈
When online on social media, it is very easy to create a False Image or Identity of ourselves in order to feel superior to others. It becomes an avenue for teens to show off or make their lives look more exciting than others. This nurtures a False Identify and subtle ways of lying. When we lie, our true sense of identity and belonging are weakened. Those are two of the most important things teenagers are developing. Focusing on creating fantasy instead of embracing their true selves stunts their growth to maturity.
Sexualization and posting of nudity.👈
Social media praise nudity and obscenity. Girls who exhibit their sexuality on this platforms have many likes.Teenagers, especially girls, want to seek attention and social media provides them with that outlet to exhibit their newly discovered sexuality since it has a wider audience for both.Sometimes they take pictures of their own nudity and post online just to capture attention.
Endagering their lifes to make Viral Videos.👈
Teens engage in extreme activities in order to be the next Internet sensation. Too often, that results in teens engaging in physically
dangerous or humiliating behavior. Some risk injury or death and none are prepared for the consequences of their actions.
Youth engage in humiliating or publicly shaming others.
Sadly, this is not just a teen problem. It’s an “all of us” problem. Every time someone does something embarrassing or lacks integrity, someone records it and posts online. As soon as these videos are online, we descend like piranhas on the perpetrator teasing and making hateful comments. Strangers’ responses to a simple mistake or lapse in moral judgment can quickly ruin a life.
The Dangers of Social Media ⚠️
Imagine being invited to a place to interact with people you don’t know. Will you feel safe?
Most of us use social media in one form or another. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that, social-media use can expose children to dangers as explained below.
It is the act of transmitting and/or receiving sexually suggestive text messages and/or photographs between cell phones equipped with text messaging. Teens are exposed to obscene forms of nudity when on social media. This can affect their attitude towards sex. They formed negative sexual behaviours like group sex, cyber- sex etc.
Exposure to Predators🚫
Teens must also bear in mind that social media is full with people with criminal tendencies. More notable among them are paedophiles, fraudsters. These criminals can prey on young people.
Another increasing phenomenon associated with social media use is cyberbullying. People behave like
piranhas when a video or post of someone reveals their lack of accountability. They make hurtful comments that not only shame the person involve but also ruin his or her self esteem.
Continuous use of social media leads to addiction. People cannot do without social media just as they can’t be happy without their mobile phones though they are aware of its inherent dangers.
The increase use of social media leads to depression. People don’t feel happy or enjoy life outside their virtual world. This negatively impact your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Furthermore, research on the dangers of social media shows that its use is associated with various other issues. For example,Using
social media can increase
stress levels,sleep issues and reduce sleep quality.Research originally referred to this phenomenon as ‘Facebook depression’, due to the initial focus on Facebook as a social network, but the negative impact of social media extends, to varying degrees, to other social-media sites, such as Instagram and Twitter.
Using social media can get in the way of important obligations, such as schoolwork, Jobs.
Why people keep using social media
There are several reasons why people keep using social media even though it affects them in a negative way. These reasons are, in many ways, similar to the reasons that cause people to engage in other types of detrimental behaviors over time.
Some people continue to use social media simply because they’re unaware of its harmful influence, or because they don’t care enough about its dangers in order to change their behavior. However, many people continue to use social media over time, because even though they know it’s bad for them, they’re psychologically predisposed to keep doing it.
For example, one study found that people keep using Facebook despite the fact that it makes them feel bad, because they keep expecting it to make them feel better, even though it almost never does.
Another study found that those who are addicted to social media experience a time distortion bias, where they feel that tasks that prevent them from checking social media are longer than they actually are.
Furthermore, other studies examined the fear of missing out(FOMO), which is associated with increased use of social networks, including in contexts where this use is especially problematic, such as while studying or driving. People with a stronger need to ‘belong’ tend to experience a stronger fear of missing out, and they also tend to use social networks more frequently than others, and experience more stress when they feel that they are unpopular on their favorite social networks.
Overall, there are many reasons why people continue to use social media excessively, even when this use is associated with a negative impact on their mental health.
How to tell if social media is affecting you negatively👈
Sometimes, it can be difficult for you to notice that social media is making you depressed or that you’re addicted to social media.
Preoccupation- have you regularly found that you can’t think of anything else but the moment that you will be able to use social media again?
Tolerance- have you regularly felt dissatisfied because you wanted to spend more time on social media?Withdrawal- have you often felt bad when you could not use social media?
Persistence- have you tried to spend less time on social media, but failed?
Displacement- have you regularly neglected other activities (e.g. hobbies, sport) because you wanted to use social media?
Problem- have you regularly had arguments with others because of your use of social media?
Deception- have you regularly lied to your family, friends, or partner about the amount of time you spend on social media?
Escape- have you often used social media to escape from negative feelings?Conflict- have you had serious conflicts with your family, friends, or partner because of your use of social media?
The more issues you’ve experienced due to your social-media use, and the more severe these issues are, the more negatively your social-media use is affecting you.
Furthermore, other factors could also serve as indicators of problematic social-media use. For example, if you feel heavily emotionally invested in social media, or if you feel anxious or depressed more than usual when using social media, that’s an indication that your social-media use is affecting you in a negative manner.
Finally, remember that even if using social media doesn’t cause you to experience overt negative outcomes, you should still ask yourself whether using it is making you feel better, and whether you feel that it’s a productive and positive way to spend your time. If the answer to those questions is ‘no’, then you could likely benefit from reducing the amount of time you spend on social media.
How to avoid the dangers of social media👈
If you realize that your use of social media is affecting you in a negative way, there are two main things that you can do:
A.You can reduce your use of social media.
B.You can start using social media in a more positive way.
Reduce your use of social media✔
In general, the less you use social media, the less you will suffer from its negative impact. This reduced usage refers not only to the time which you spend browsing social media, but also to other factors, such as the number of platforms that you use, the situations in which you use social media, and the type of information that you share.
There are various things that you can do in order to reduce your use of social media. The simplest thing to do is to simply decide to use social media less frequently, or to stop using it entirely. Sometimes, this happens naturally, and many people end up feeling social-media fatigue over time, which causes them to take a break from social media on their own.
However, this isn’t always easy to accomplish in practice, due to the psychological mechanisms that we saw earlier, which might cause you to continue using social media, even when you know that it’s bad for you. As such, you will generally benefit from setting concrete goals for yourself, when it comes to reducing your social-media use.
For example, you might decide to limit your use of social media to only two platforms, or you might decide to remove all social media apps from your phone, so you can only access social media from your home computer.
You can also use software that limits your use of social media to only a set amount of time per day, or which locks you out of social media during certain periods of time when you need to concentrate on other things, such as sleep or schoolwork.
An important thing to remember is that, in many cases, problematic use of social-media occurs due toour force of habit, which might cause you to check up on your social-media accounts simply because you’re so used to doing it, rather than because you really want to. Breaking your habit, by using the techniques that we saw above, can help you solve this problem, and successfully reduce your problematic use of social media.
Focus on using social media in a positive way✔
Despite the fact that social media is associated with many issues, it’s important to keep in mind that using social media won’t necessarily influence you in a negative way. Rather, as long as you’re using social media in a manner that is both moderate and positive, it probably won’t have a significant negative impact on your health and wellbeing.
Furthermore, there are also some potential benefits to using social media, such as the opportunity to form and strengthen connections with other people. As such, the use of social networks can be beneficial when it leads to positive social interactions and to increased social support, and can sometimes actually help reduce feelings of loneliness.
Accordingly, in addition to reducing your use of social media, another thing that you can do in order to reduce the potentially negative impact of social media is to focus on using it in a positive way.
For example, instead of using social-media sites in order to passively consume information, you can try to use them in a more active manner, which involves communicating with people that you care about or discussing hobbies that interest you.
Overall, the main way to avoid the negative influence that social media has on you is to reduce the amount of time and effort that you spend on social media, which you can accomplish by setting concrete goals for yourself and using various tools.
Furthermore, you can also focus on using social media in a more positive way, such as by using it to communicate with people in a way that actually makes you feel better.
In general, social media is usually dangerous only if you overuse it, if you use it in a problematic manner, or if you’re emotionally vulnerable in the first place. By limiting your use of social media, and by using it in a positive way, you can avoid experiencing the negative effects associated with social media, and might even end up benefiting from it.
In conclusion , Social media can be useful in establishing healthy friendship and communication but
Teenagers need to be aware of the dangers associated with it and establish firm boundaries to regulate how they use it.
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