The definition of social media are websites and computer programs that allow people to communicate and share information on the internet using a computer or mobile phone. The use of smartphones becomes common, which enables social media use through homes, schools, and communities due to a majority of youth (89%) having access to smartphones(Weinstein, 2018).These social media platforms(SMPs)including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Youtube. In fact, there are potential benefits and risks when teenagers use social media. In this essay, I am going to dip deep into the positive and negative impacts of social media on adolescents.
The merit of the use of social media is that adolescents are able to explore their current interests or new scope of learning in order to upgrade an adolescent’s own value. For instance, online videos share the information of cooking desserts, which inspirated teenages who love making desserts to become pastry chefs in the future. In addition, they can get well-prepared to their future occupation by learning professional proficiency. Through this process, young people are able to establish their social identity and self development because the SMPs provide a new direction to them in seeking for their potential. Thus, it is conducive to the future career of adolescents in enhancing their competitiveness.
It is no doubt that the use of social media enhances the sense of belonging of young people. Adolescents exchange their emotion through online texting can foster social connection. Davis suggested that digital mediums link up teenages share similar beliefs, values and experiences, facilitating the social interaction between them so as to build up a close relationship and receive peer recognition(as cited in A. Allen, et al., 2014). Not only did SMPs provide opportunities for adolescents to broaden their social group, but also seek peer acceptance between different genders. Therefore, it is probable that online communication cultivates a sense of belonging and connectivity among adolescents.
One potential risk of social media is the occurrence of cyberbullying, which is a prominent and dangerous issue on social media that can lead to dangerous and even fatal consequences. It is related to the comparison between youngsters. To illustrate, trolling is commonly found in social media. Stein demonstrates that perpetrators find victims through fishing methods such as preying on them through pranks, harassment, violent threats and so on(as cited in L. Elmquist 1 & L. McLaughlin 1, 2017). Apart from that, teenagers suffer from emotional distress due to verbal assault, which lower the self esteem of the victims. As a result, cyberbullying is harmful to one’s mental health and even lead to youth suicide.
Last but not least, Triggering posts carry upsetting contents to adolescents, causing detrimental influence in their emotion and even resulting in negative coping. Teenagers may follow some public accounts in SMPs, with posts describing self-harm and cyberbullying. Most of the young people felt depressed when encountered with this triggering content. The hashtags consist of cynical meaning such as sadness, suicide and hell cause youngster expose to the danger of following the same action of self harm or come up with uicidal thoughts (Radovic, et al., 2017). It is generally accepted that adolescents are suffering from content of triggering posts, leading to catastrophic impacts on their mental and physical health. Hence, triggering posts increases the risky behaviors of young people.
All in all , even though there exists potential harms to teenagers when using social media platforms. Be that as it may, proper use of social media should be supported because it facilitated the personal development of youngsters, encouraged young people to express themselves through the social media platforms so as to reinforce their belonging, psychosocial wellbeing, and personal identity.