Socializing online is a new way of making real-life and even virtual friends. It’s difficult to find people who haven’t heard of Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and many more. Today’s Genz kids have got a hold of this platform while they are still learning the alphabet in the nursery. This is the real scenario.
Millions and trillions visit these social sites every day. Recent studies on the usage of social media by teens of the age group 17-19 years showed that the major purpose of using this technology was to make new buddies(99%) than for studies(36%) and then last for playing games (25%).
Pros of Utilizing Social Media By Teenagers
While we cannot blame social media for everything bad that happens in society, it should be the personal discretion of the users to make the right decisions. Therefore we enumerate here the advantages of this technology that connects the poles.
1. Connectivity and easy communication with family and friends.
2. Take independent part in NGO and charitable campaigns.
3. Showcase talents and creativity in music, dance, art, and many others.
4. Access to top educators directly through DMs.
5. Keep a track of current events.
6. Meet like-minded people and organize startups and programs.
7. For light entertainment purposes.
8. Fitness trainers and dieticians can be reached and followed.
9. Learning new traits.
Cons Hidden Behind Irrational Use of Social Media
Cyberbullying is a crime that includes the use of digital platforms like gaming platforms, social media, and messaging platforms to hurt the self-esteem or integrity of an individual. Unicef takes such situations very seriously particularly if the targeted person is a teenager. Social media organizations have also laid down strict guidelines on the words and images that can be shared publicly but do not hurt anybody’s sentiments. Cyberbullying is malpractice that can be like-
1. Spreading of fake news regarding a person making viral embarrassing videos and photographs online.
2. Criticizing a person by using abusive, hurtful, and threatening comments, direct texts, and sending videos or images.
3. Creating fake accounts to spread wrong messages by impersonating someone.
● Risks to Privacy
Teens are mostly under peer- pressure to join a social media platform in most cases. Social media makes them look cool. But too much revelation of personal data online can be hazardous too.
Online predators are always in search of such teens who are famous and widely followed by the audience. They make online contacts with unknown people who at times can make them feel uncomfortable or scared.
Tracking exact locations has become a cakewalk for hackers these days. Improper and incautious use of social media can land teens trouble who haven’t taken care of their privacy.
● Unsafe Platform for Irrational Users
Too much sharing of personal space and irrational, no time-bound practice can make teens addicted to the platform.
● Reputation Perils
Inappropriate posting of content like images and videos once published is difficult to be erased from the cloud data. Copying data and republishing is no big deal these days. Illegal use of an artist without giving due credit is also a disrespect shown towards that artist. It’s plagiarism and can be claimed if found correct.
● Impaired Psychological Health
Negative mental health is the consequence of spending more than necessary time on social media. Binge-watching videos, scrolling, surfing, and consuming whatever content the system wants to feed you. Peer pressure and unhealthy competitions in terms of showoff usually develop teens.
● Too much Inappropriate Content
Social media sites have also made age restrictions to restrict the type of content to be shown to them. But nowadays most teenagers lie about their age to get access to sensitive content on social media. Unlimited and fast internet has deleted protection barriers in terms of showing ads or promoting ideas.
● Lack of Time Management
There is competition in studies as well as being updated with the latest in every industry. But teens who prioritize their useful time in vague surfing find difficulties in their future careers. There should be time for performing homework, exercising, sleeping, playing outdoors, and most crucially spending time with the people you live with.
What to do as a Parent in this Situation?
Parents can serve as the torch bearers for their growing children who might be lost in the city lights of fame on social media. As a parent or guardian, you do not need to become snoop dogs or have a 24/7 eye on your child’s activities. You just need to safeguard them by making them understand that privacy is a thing but safety comes first.
● They can share anything and everything with you. You will try your best to understand their feelings by keeping yourself in their shoes. Judging and shouting may not serve the purpose well but surely worsen. Communicate as a friend to your kid. Let them know that there are some expectations and limits for their online presence.
You at first may not understand everything going online as these are some new trends. But keep the essential talks and support your kid if his talent is something extraordinary that the world needs to know.
● Make your teen knowledgeable to not share anything that would bring shame to their parents, teachers, grandparents, and to themselves too.
● Never overshare personal information like contact numbers and home addresses. This oversharing is an open invitation for stalkers and hackers to invade your personal life.
● Make a rule that they do not accept every friend request or follow requests. Multiple fake accounts are surfing online with luring bios that offer bogus publicity to kids in return for money. A small group of good friends is better than a large crowd of strangers.
● Passwords are made not to be shared with anyone. Not even their girlfriend, best friends, and boyfriend.
I hope this must have enlightened both the parents and the teens in terms of their use of social media. Parents should be nice to their teens whenever they try to share anything. Also, the youth should respect the freedom they have received while on social media.