I’m Just posting my essay on the impacts social media has on young people. I hope it proves insightful!
P.S I am just going to copy and past my text as I am unsure of how to attach a document to a post. Enjoy!
Positive and Negative Effects of the Excessive Use of Social Media in Young People
With the evolution of social media expanding rapidly in today’s society there are inquiries into the effects it will have, and is having on young people. Social media has expanded since the creation of the internet. It has evolved to the point where social media is almost a necessity in today’s society. A brief history will look into just how rapidly this evolution has come about. This rapid growth of social media, goes hand in hand with the swift evolution of technology, and has led the younger generation to obsession, to the point where many aspects of their lives are being affected. This essay will analyse whether the extensive use of social media has a positive or negative impact on the youth of today. The main factors being analysed include the sociological aspects, medical and psychological implications that the extensive use of social media can result in. The most relevant research will be used as evidence to discover the facts about social media.
A timeline, derived of information from Anthony Curtis will demonstrate just how quickly technology and social media evolved. The opportunity to invent social media was made possible by the creation of the internet. Social media is the virtual creation and posting of any type of content (Agresta 2010). Dial-up was created in 1969 and paved the way for world-wide communication (Curtis 2013). Curtis (2013) writes that in 1997 there were one million sites on the web, this was also the year that blogging began. www.google.com opened in 1998 and www.friendsreunited.com was recognised as the first distinguishable social networking site. Curtis (2013) notes, that through the online pandemonium during the turn of the millennium, seventy million computers had access to the internet. Following the creation of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page in 2001 was social networking site; http://www.friendster.com/ in 2002. Friendster gained three million followers in just three months. Friendster is the framework of all of today’s social networking sites. Curtis’ research shows that https://myspace.com/ was launched the next year, and was the first clone of Friendster. In the same year as Myspace, http://www.linkedin.com/ was created for Business purposes and, unlike Myspace is still frequently used today. https://www.facebook.com/ and http://www.flickr.com/ were introduced in 2004. At the time of Facebook’s opening Myspace was the leading social network- however, in 2009 Facebook had taken over that title. In 2006 https://twitter.com/ joined the social networking ranks and is now one of the largest social networking sites on the web. The top ten social network sites also include; http://www.blogger.com/no-blogs.g, http://www.youtube.com/ and https://www.tumblr.com/. 2013 has seen Facebook reach 1.11 billion users (Curtis 2013). Not only has social media expanded but so have the devices that allow millions of people to access these sites. Not only can phones and computers provide this but now internet is available on a whole range of gadgets including tablets and gaming consoles. This easy accessibility to social networks is impacting the lives of young people today.
There is no denying that the extensive use of social media is having an impact on young people. Research has proven that the use of social media has improved communication, social connectivity and skills with technology (O’Keeffe & Clarke-Pearson 2011). While social media has made it easier to maintain contact with friends and family, this impersonal means of communication may undermine the importance of real, face-to-face interaction (Collier 2013). It is more common these days to see abbreviations and new words being created with all of this new communication. This is a negative impact of excessively using social media in that young peoples’ vocabulary is not being improved the way it is with reading. Young people are becoming lazy with their vocabulary, not only on social media but also in everyday conversation, preferring to use abbreviations such as “Lol” as opposed to “laugh out loud”. Unfortunately, these words are being used so frequently that some dictionaries are updating and adding words such as “emoji” “selfie” and “twerk” to accommodate for these changes as they are becoming frequently used words in the English language (Oxford Dictionaries Online Quarterly Update 2013). Another issue that has arisen with the projection of social media is that, those young people who do not have access to social media accounts are not being catered for. More and more advertisements are being aimed at the youth via social media, but those who lack access will lack awareness (Bobkowski & Smith 2013). All of these inevitable changes are, and will continue to influence the young people in today’s society.
There has been some debate about the health of young people in regards to the extensive use of social media and technology. Studies have shown that with the extensive features of the internet and communication, there has been opportunity to improve and develop learning and skills in young people (Jennings & Wartella 2000). With this new technology children are able to interact with toys that have the ability to interact back- stimulating the learning process at a very early age (Lincoln & Strommen 1992). These high-tech childhood toys allow children to become familiar with technology at a young age (Clements 1999). This will give the children the ability to take in imperative learning skills in their most impressionable years. This is crucial as it is looking likely that the future is going to rely heavily on the use of technology and social media to advertise and communicate. However, there is also a potential health risk to excessively using social media. With all of the excitement and amusement that the internet and social media hold, children are less inspired to go outside or participate in physical activity. Studies have shown that a lack of physical activity and an increase in inactive behaviour, such as gaming is a partial factor into childhood obesity (Biddle & Cameron & Gorely & Marshall & Murdey 2004). The health risks that accompany obesity are vast, and potentially lethal. However, it is not only the physical health aspect that is being affected medically by the excessive use of social media.
Another factor that may be affected in young peoples’ lives by excessively using social media is mental health. Young people are impressionable and opinions and actions can affect them in either a positive or negative way. Studies have shown that both mentally and physically disabled children have been able to use new technology to communicate, altering and improving their skills (Clements 1999). People in these situations can use social media and technology to their advantage, in order to improve their lifestyles. While the extensive use of social media and technology may prove beneficial in special cases, there have been negative results from the use of social media in young people. Approximately 160, 000 Australians aged 18-24 suffer from depression (Youth Beyond Blue 2013). There are many forms of mental illness but depression is very common and can be easily triggered. Cyberbullying is common online and can be committed anonymously, this harassment can cause various psychological trauma including depression, isolation and even suicide (Clarke-Pearson & O’Keeffe 2011). Some adolescents have developed symptoms of depression when on social networking sights for too long, this has been called “Facebook depression” but can be experienced through other blog sights also (Clarke-Pearson & O’Keeffe 2011). Another way young people can be psychologically affected through the extensive use of social media in a negative way is by the messages being portrayed in advertisements. A study was conducted about the promotion of alcohol on television as well as in social media. The study showed that on television the effects of alcohol are over-dramatised for entertainment purposes, this is reflected on social media sites as young people use this to create, broadcast and regularize drinking alcohol to their peers (Fellowes 2012). These psychological aspects are crucial to the mental health of young people.
In summary it can be deduced that the extensive us of social media has both positive and negative effects on the youth of today. With the continuous development with technology and social media today’s young society will undoubtedly use social media for the rest of their lives- ensuring the relevance of these issues. The extensive use of social media can affect multiple aspects of a young person’s life- sociologically, medically and psychologically. Sociologically, there are some small benefits such as gaining online communication and technological skills. However, the negative repercussions of less personal interaction and the devolution of the vocabulary reduce the significance of the benefits. The most significant medical benefit of using social media is that young children have the ability to learn from such a young age, increasing their intelligence when at their most impressionable. However the negative impact is that social media has been known to increase obesity. Psychologically, people with disabilities are able to improve their life with technology. However the potential risks that can be psychologically caused by social media is significant. As a result it can be stated that there are both positive and negative qualities when young people excessively use social media.
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