Multitasking has become a common theme in our lives. It’s a wonder how we manage it all.
We depend on our smartphones for work, school, our personal and social lives. When was the last time you left home without your phone and kept on going? The internet has become a significant part of our daily lives. So too has social media.
And it is having an impact on today’s teens.
Social media usage
Back in 2005, when social media was still in its infancy, only about 5 percent of users in the United States were involved in social media. In 2019, that number grew to about 70 percent.
- Pew Research Center surveyed social media usage and popularity among US adults early in 2019. The survey found that while the most-used social platforms for adults are YouTube and Facebook; teens prefer SnapChat and Instagram, while TikTok is reportedly the fastest growing social network among younger users.
- Social media use is nearly universal among today’s teens. Pew Research Center reports 97 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds use at least one of seven major online platforms.
- The amount of time spent on social sites is astounding. One reportindicatesthe average teen ages 13 to 18 spends about nine hours on social media each day; tweens ages 8 to 12 are on for about six hours a day.
Like most things, using social media has its positives (the good), its cautionary tales (the bad), and dangers (the ugly) that lurk and impact the lives of many, but especially teens.
Mindcast: Healthy Mind, Healthy Child Podcast
A Podcast from the experts at Bradley Hospital, leaders in mental health care for children.
Listen to the podcast
Pros: Why is social media good?
Social media and technology offer us greater convenience and connectivity:
- staying connected with family and friends worldwide via email, text, FaceTime, etc.
- quick access to information and research
- banking and bill pay at our fingertips
- online learning, job skills, content discovery (YouTube)
- involvement in civic engagement (fundraising, social awareness, provides a voice)
- great marketing tools
- opportunities for remote employment
Social media can be a good thing, but if teens ever feel uncomfortable about something they see or read on social, they should trust their own feelings and talk to someone – a parent, a teacher, or another trusted adult. Bullying, threats and cruelty on social media are all signs that the person doing those things needs help.
Cons: Why is social media bad?
Along with the good comes the bad. With all of its benefits, the nature of social media presents a range of potential issues.
- Online vs Reality. Social media itself is not the problem. It is the way people use it in place of actual communication and in-person socializing. “Friends” on social media may not actually be friends, and may even be strangers.
- Increased usage. The more time spent on social media can lead to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to content that is not age appropriate.
- Social Media is addicting. When you’re playing a game or accomplishing a task, you seek to do it as well as you can. Once you succeed, your brain will give you a dose of dopamine and other happiness hormones, making you happy. The same mechanism functions when you post a picture to Instagram or Facebook. Once you see all the notifications for likes and positive comments popping up on your screen, you’ll subconsciously register it as a reward. But that’s not all, social media is full of mood-modifying experiences.
- Fear of Missing Out. FOMO has become a common theme, and often leads to continual checking of social media sites. The idea that you might miss out on something if you’re not online can affect your mental health.
- Self-image issues. Social media sites provide tools that allow people to earn others’ approval for their appearance and the possibility to compare themselves to others. It can be associated with body image concerns. The “selfieholics” and people who spend most of their time posting and scrolling are the ones most vulnerable to this. In fact, most college girls who use Facebook at least five times a day are likely to link their self-worth to their looks. That doesn’t mean that the main problem is social media; it only provides a medium for it, which further elevates the problem. It also promotes the same sort of behavior to others.
Social media and bullying
Sadly, there is an ugly side to all that technology offers. While bullying is not a new concept, social media and technology have brought bullying to a new level. It becomes a more constant, ever-present threat -- cyberbullying. The State of Rhode Island anti-bullying laws & regulations define bullying and cyberbullying as follows:
“Bullying” means the use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof directed at a student that:
- causes physical or emotional harm to the student or damage to the student's property
- places the student in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself or of damage to his/her property
- creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or abusive educational environment for the student
- infringes on the rights of the student to participate in school activities
- materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school
“Cyberbullying” means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, texting or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.
Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Unfortunately, intervention is rare, with an adult intervening in only four percent of cases, and a peer in 11 percent. An astonishing 85 percent of all cases of bullying are not addressed.
The following are just some statistics on how common bullying and cyberbullying have become: According to StopBullying.org:
- One out of four (25 percent) teens are bullied, while up to 43 percent have been bullied while online.
- Nine out of tenLGBTQ students experienced harassment at school and online. Biracial and multiracial youth are more likely to be victimized than youth who identify with a single race. Kids who are obese, gay, or have disabilities are more likely to be bullied than other children.
- 58 percent have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
- 5.4 million children stay home on any given day because they fear being bullied.
Social media and suicide
Sadly, the cons of social media can take a toll on young minds. Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under age 14. In most cases, young people die from hanging.
- Suicide rates among 10- to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades, according to the American Association of Suicidology.
- Suicide rates among children between the ages of 10 and 14 are very low, but are creeping up, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
What can parents do?
As parents, there are things we can do to improve our children’s lives online and in real life.
- Attempt to model the behavior we want to see.
- Set boundaries right way when you give your child their first phone. Set parental controls on his or her phone, with access to their passwords. Phones should be charged somewhere other than their room at night, and should be shut off an hour or two before bed.
- Have conversations with your children on why some things should be kept private.
- Take time to actively engage with your kids face-to-face. This interaction teaches them how to follow social cues, verbal and non-verbal.
- Talk to your kids without glancing at your phone.
- Find opportunities to havegenuine conversations that are not lectures.
- Be aware of privacy concerns and cybersecurity issues.
Technology has changed the way we live, work, and socialize. But it can’t replace parenting.
For more tips on parenting, visit the Growing section of our Lifespan Livinghealth and wellness blog.
Since it's a relatively new technology, there's little research to establish the long-term consequences, good or bad, of social media use. However, multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.What are the pros and cons of social media? ›
|Make new friends/communicate or connect with old friends/family||Cyberbullying|
|Get different opinions on things like surveys||Hacking into profiles and posting as them|
|Get a fanbase/try to make a name for yourself||Gossip/spread rumors|
Since it's a relatively new technology, there's little research to establish the long-term consequences, good or bad, of social media use. However, multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.What are the advantages and disadvantages of using social media platforms justify your answer? ›
There are a lot of social media advantages and disadvantages. Some people find them helpful in keeping in touch with friends, while others view them as a distraction from their work or studies. Social media can be addictive and can lead to feelings of loneliness or isolation if used excessively.What are the pros of social media? ›
Pros: Why is social media good? Social media and technology offer us greater convenience and connectivity: staying connected with family and friends worldwide via email, text, FaceTime, etc. quick access to information and research.What are 2 pros on social media? ›
- Connectivity. Connectivity is among the most significant benefits of social media. ...
- Education. The use of social media in education is commendable. ...
- Information and Updates. ...
- Awareness. ...
- Share Anything With Others. ...
- Helps in Building Communities. ...
- Noble Cause. ...
- Mental Health.
Social networks has provided us the opportunity to connect with people and build better relationships with friends with whom we are unable to meet personally, and let them know about our life and take input about their lives and events happening with them.What is the bad purpose of social media? ›
Although there are important benefits, social media can also provide platforms for bullying and exclusion, unrealistic expectations about body image and sources of popularity, normalization of risk-taking behaviors, and can be detrimental to mental health.Is social media good or bad for society? ›
While it has the potential for good, social media has been also been harmful to society because of how we use it. Here's how social media is harming our mental health, self-image, communication skills, and society at large—potentially causing more harm than good overall.Is social media good for society? ›
Social media is the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. This collective term focuses on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.
Social media harms
However, social media use can also negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people's lives and peer pressure. The risks might be related to how much social media teens use.
- It can contribute to social isolation.
- It can be used as an effective tool for bullying.
- It is often used to snoop on others.
- People who use it are more likely to social compare themselves to others.
- Presents a false idea of “friendship”
- Research has shown that it can increase feelings of depression and anxiety.
|Pros of Social Media||Cons of Social Media|
|Social Media Can Reach Large Audiences||Social Media Causes Sleep Issues|
|Government Benefits from Social Media||Social Media Cause Depression and Loneliness|
|Entertainment with Social Media||Social Media Causes Distraction|
The advantages of social media are plenty. These include fostering connections with people from different cultures, getting the latest updates on trending topics, sharing your creativity, and interacting with individuals with similar interests.What are the cons and pros? ›
the favorable and the unfavorable factors or reasons; advantages and disadvantages.How social media affects people? ›
When people look online and see they're excluded from an activity, it can affect thoughts and feelings, and can affect them physically. A 2018 British study tied social media use to decreased, disrupted, and delayed sleep, which is associated with depression, memory loss, and poor academic performance.How social media affects our everyday life? ›
Due to the open transparency and constant accessibility of social media, you may also feel anxiety related to a lack of privacy. On top of that, social media often gives us the sense that we're socializing without actually allowing us to socialize the way we do best—with in-person, direct conversations.What is toxic about social media? ›
Toxic social media trends
This is a form of social media bullying or harassment where one user stalks another to gain incriminating or personal information from another with the intent of using it to hurt them personally or professionally. Sometimes it's not just negative things that are toxic.
Internet use and excessive social media engagement have, however, been linked to cyberbullying, social isolation, stress, and depression . Frequent social media activity is also linked to harmful behaviors, such as addictions, self-harm, and suicidality that can be detrimental to mental health .How is social media addictive? ›
“Social media platforms drive surges of dopamine to the brain to keep consumers coming back over and over again. The shares, likes and comments on these platforms trigger the brain's reward center, resulting in a high similar to the one people feel when gambling or using drugs.”
Media is the very source of mass communication. Media plays the most informative role in our society. It is the main thing of mass communication. It has various forms, such as the internet, through which we can get updated news about the world in our grab just with a click of a finger.How powerful is social media? ›
When it comes to our union, social media is a powerful tool to communicate to the outside world about struggles faced by members and people in our communities. It's also a free and open forum to debate, exchange ideas and share opinions. Whether you like it or not, it's here to stay.Is social media still important? ›
One of the most important impacts of social media in today's world lies within its ability to distribute information to the whole world. With most people on some other social media platforms today, no news of importance cools down without proper discussion.Why should everyone use social media? ›
What are the benefits of using social media? Billions of people around the world use social media to share information and make connections. On a personal level, social media allows you to communicate with friends and family, learn new things, develop your interests, and be entertained.What is the dark side of social media? ›
3. These days, it feels like social media is being used to divide people rather than connect them. (In fairness, the same could also be said of traditional media.) Social media does seem to be particularly effective at stirring up anger, jealousy, indignation, and other negative emotions.How social media affect our brain? ›
Social and Emotional Response
Social media is made to be addictive. Each like or positive comment presents a little hit of dopamine to our brain, thus creating reward pathways in the brain causing you to desire likes, retweets, etc.
Social media: risks
uploading inappropriate content, like embarrassing or provocative photos or videos of themselves or others. sharing personal information with strangers – for example, images, date of birth, location or address. cyberbullying. being exposed to too much targeted advertising and marketing.
- low self-esteem, which may be prompted by incorrect perceptions that others' lives are “better” than yours.
- increased isolation and loneliness.
- anxiety or depression.
- onset of social anxiety disorder.
Advantages comprise of its endless potential in disseminating information and educating people. The disadvantages mainly consist of anonymity, lack of authenticity, invasion of privacy, violation of children's rights etc. The contemporary internet age poses myriad threats to human rights.What are 4 negatives of social media? ›
Social media harms
However, social media use can also negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people's lives and peer pressure.
- navigating and sharing digital content.
- responsible online interaction.
- building an online identity.
- maintaining their digital reputation.
The advantages of social media are plenty. These include fostering connections with people from different cultures, getting the latest updates on trending topics, sharing your creativity, and interacting with individuals with similar interests.What are 7 advantages of social media? ›
- It's cost-effective.
- It provides authenticity.
- It compliments advertising.
- It fosters your creative voice.
- It provides a forum for customer care.
- It builds engaged communities.
- It helps search engine optimization.
- cyberbullying (bullying using digital technology)
- invasion of privacy.
- identity theft.
- your child seeing offensive images and messages.
- the presence of strangers who may be there to 'groom' other members.
Social media can evoke feelings of envy that lead to depression and anxiety, potentially causing a downward spiral in psychological well-being. Social isolation, social comparison, and social peer pressure all contribute to increased depression on social media platforms, especially in young adults.What is the full words of pros vs cons? ›
Pros and cons, derived from the Latin words "pro" (for) and "contra" (against), may refer to: Pros and Cons (TV series), a television series that aired from 1991 to 1992. Pros & Cons, a 1999 film starring Larry Miller and Tommy Davidson.What are 5 problems with social media? ›
- Potential Positive Aspects of Social Media.
- Internet Addiction.
- Sleep Deprivation.
- Digital Footprint.