We are living in a new time, where teenagers are spending more time on screens than they are on regular games and crafts. Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media platforms, social media is one of the most significant parts of the life of teenagers today. Embracing digital technology as a way of life is essential; times are changing, and if we do not move with them we are going to be left in the past. Parents can find it difficult to comprehend the pros of social media to a teenager, despite having grown up and witnessed the changes in the way that we use technology every day. Teenagers are in a difficult period of life, where parents want to protect them while they want their independence and social media is the outlet in which they can spread their wings.
A lot of parents see the merits within social media. Some teenagers use social media as an outlet for their emotions, their thoughts and their creativity, with YouTube and other vlogging platforms playing an integral part in their personal lives.
Social media has both pros and cons to it, with the effect on teenagers in both camps being a profound one. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of social media and how it affects teenagers today.
Pros Of Social Media On Teenagers
- Teenagers are more informed today more than ever before.
Social media is very open all day, every day. It doesn’t matter what teens are doing, the unparalleled access to the neighborhood, school, state, country and international news is overwhelming – in a good way. It is vital to teach the teens of today that they must equip themselves with knowledge on current affairs, environmental issues and social debates so that they can make better decisions about their lives.
- Research has never been easier than it is right now.
Social media platforms aren’t just for being social with friends; they are a way to connect and research and learn together. Remote working is vital for those in business, so why not make it important for teenagers who are studying? Group discussions from across the town can happen as necessary, making homework and studying more efficient. Posting homework questions on social media platforms also serves to ensure that student teens can learn better.
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- A boost in self-esteem.
Being a teenager is not easy. Puberty and hormonal changes are tough to manage, and social media is the safe place that teenagers can join groups of like-minded individuals to discuss their issues. There are also fan pages to follow people who inspire them and places that they can join so that they can feel like they fit in. Confidence is so hard to come by during those awkward adolescent years, and if teenagers are feeling safe on social media groups with others who ‘get’ them, then it’s a good thing to use.
- Disabilities become almost invisible.
Most of the time, teenagers with disabilities do not get the chance to communicate equally with their peers. Usually, this is due to a level of ignorance on the part of their peer group, but social media is a place that can make a difference. The computer screen provides a cover, a place they can hide behind and do everything their peers can do without issue. The sense of belonging is powerful, here.
- Keeping up with the trends in technology.
Teenagers get more of an opportunity to stay abreast of upgrades and changes in technology that are useful to everyday life. When teenagers are using social media, they can keep up with the innovations that are around them, and this is going to help them to do well in the future.
Cons Of Social Media On Teenagers
One of the hardest negatives of social media and the influence of the internet is the level of cyberbullying that occurs across all platforms. It means that playground issues just aren’t left on the playground anymore, and taunts and harsh words become the norm outside of school where they are supposed to be safe. It’s the biggest drawback to any form of social media, as the mental health effects on teenagers are too high.
- Isolation in disabled teens.
Kids with disabilities are often a target for others simply for being different. This isolation makes the teenager with disabilities feel alone, sad and depressed. On social media, people do not change their attitudes which means that this loneliness carries through at home, too.
- Increase in procrastination.
Social media is wonderfully engaging, but when it comes to teenagers, it’s a way to suck out their ability to be productive. They may neglect their essential school work and activities in favor of chatting with their friends. This can lead to failure in school and can result in addiction to social media.
- Social skills are destroyed.
When you spend a lot of time interacting online, you lose specific skills that you can only gain face to face. In the same way that typing can make your handwriting slack due to the loss of muscle memory, being on social media makes your teen forget how to communicate correctly. Most of the time, extroverted kids on social media are incredibly reserved and shy in person. This is because the screen is giving them what they need to stay hidden away and that provides them with a level of confidence they do not have otherwise.
- Too much information.
The disclosure of too much information can put teenagers in dangerous situations. Online grooming is a big problem, and the anonymity of a screen allows someone to pretend to be someone they are not. This can then lead to harmful situations and can encourage less tasteful individuals to take advantage of a teenager.
The emphasis on the pros and cons of social media need to be taught to teenagers today. If they insist on being online and being current in the world of technology, education is key.
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