With the use of Social Media being the number one way we communicate in today’s modern world it has become such a worldwide phenomenon with people from all over the world using social media as a form of communication. Social media now overrides the way that people communicate. Research shows that people communicate via social media websites more than using their mobile phones.
People of all ages use social media as a way of communicating with friends, family and even strangers all around the world.
With the extensive amount of Social media sites available for free use; the most popular Social media site that is used by youths today is Facebook, with over 94% of teenagers aged 12-17 using Facebook as a form of communication (Kaiser, 2013). Facebook has become such a huge epidemic due to the way people can communicate with one and other through instant messaging and commenting too seeing photographs and uploading your personal information. Although there are many negative impacts that social media has on our youth’s lives; there continues to still be an uprising community of people who continue to use Facebook as their number one form of communication (Los Angles Times 2011).
Using Social media regularly has been proven to cause many serious negative health affects; many teenagers start to form “Facebook Depression” this is caused by cyber bullying and being harassed online (O’Keefee & Pearson, 2011). Suffering from a serious mental illness such as depression can lead to many teenagers becoming suicidal (Lewinsohn, Rohde & Seeley,2006). Facebook not only shows so much about an individual; such as sharing ones personal information about their where about’s, who they are communicating with and photos of themselves; young people in todays society don’t feel the need to keep anything private as there is no education on the way the internet works. Research data shows that over 91 % of teenagers post photos of themselves and share more than what is needed with friends online. Privacy has become such a big issue when using social media. 36% of teenagers aged 12-17 have friends on Facebook that they don’t know or have never met (Madden, M, Lenhart, A, Cortesi, S, Gasser, U, Duggan, M, Smith, A, & Beaton, M 2013). Medical research has shown that teenagers who are regular users of Facebook can produce anti-social personality disorders, paranoia and anxiety.
Although there are many negative effects caused by teenagers using Facebook as their number one form of communication, there are many positive reinforcement’s Facebook brings to teenagers lives; such as allowing them to connect with friends and meet new people. It allows their self-esteem to be raised and helps promote individuality. Research has shown that teenagers who are connected through Facebook with friends from school help each other with their assignments and give advice to each other on how to complete complicated work and difficult assignment questions. Proven data has shown that this has helped make youths more intelligent as they feel more comfortable communicating with peers their own age than asking for assistance of teachers (O’Keefee & Pearson, 2011).
Social media has many good and bad traits but the negative health issues that can occur from the extensive use of Facebook outweigh the positives.
Cyber bullying has become such a big issue in today’s society as it affects more than 43% of youths and still continues to be a leading cause of depression. Cyber bullying effects the way teenagers feel about themselves. It not only affects many of them physically but also mentally. Medical research shows that teenagers who have suffered from some form of cyber bullying through Facebook have a tendency of also suffering depression. Depression in teenagers is one of the main health issues that arise in today’s youths; it leads to many physiological disorders and can lead to suicide. Many young teenagers experience some form of depression from Facebook either from being put down or being made to feel like they don’t fit in (Webster, R 2010).
Academic research shows that 16% of teenagers aged between 12-17 display information about their whereabouts and personal information that should not be shared on the internet (Madden, M, Lenhart, A, Cortesi, S, Gasser, U, Duggan, M, Smith, A, & Beaton, M 2013). In today’s society youths are unaware and un educated about the effects Internet privacy has on them as a person. Many teenagers don’t see the harm is putting their lives on the web but many of them don’t know that all their data and information is being stored on to a hard drive and can never be deleted, with this being said teenagers who share too much personal information tend to get into trouble with the law or even later in life with future jobs. With Facebook being a place for people to communicate with friends it is also used for people to communicate with “online friends”, people they haven’t met in person. This for many young teenagers this can be a big problem and can lead to ‘sexting’, and child pornography (O’Keefee & Pearson 2011). Facebook addiction is a serious matter with teenagers in today’s digital world and needs to be taken searously. With the extensive use of Facebook in today’s youths, Facebook is now serving as a need more than a want this is where Facebook addiction becomes apparent. Today’s youths are checking their Facebook every 30 minutes. This addiction can not only affect them emotionally but also affect their schooling and friendships as being a regular user of a social media site such as Facebook has shown to cause anti-social behavior (Marcus, 1994).
Although there are many negative impacts Social media has on teenagers, in order for teenagers to benefit from social media they need to be aware of the negatives and use Social media as a form of “good communication”. Facebook has shown to help many teenagers grow as a person and become who they are today. Studies show that teenagers who are shy and have no people skills tend to develop good communication skills through being a regular Facebook user. Facebook has given many teenagers the confidence in themselves and has helped people develop long life friendships that may not of happened if they didn’t have Facebook. Education data states that Facebook is a great tool for student’s to help each other over the Internet to communicate about group assignments or to help one another with school assignments. With the extensive use of Facebook teenagers have found that it has enhanced many of their learning capabilities. Many students look up help on academic, medical or work related topics through Facebook. It has helped many students learn more information then students who don’t use Social media (O’Keefee, & Pearson, 2011).
Research data states there are many positive outcomes that come out of youths using social media such as Facebook as a way of communicating though professional research data that has been gathered the negatives outweigh the positives and the negative heath risks involved with extensive use of social media are far more serious than the few positive things youths can get out of using Facebook as a way of communicating. With Facebook being the most popular social media site we can guarantee that our youths are going to be experiencing more health related problem’s due to the over use of social media (Kaiser, 2013). Although teenagers see Facebook as a positive way to communicate with friends and family they need to be aware of the side effects overuse of social media can have on their health in the long term.
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