How SocialMedia Affects Teenagers’ Health
The invention of social media has been a hallmark of human intelligence. The world was once a wider globe in the imagination of people that stretched far and wide. This thought, however, has been challenged and proved wrong by the advent of the various forms of social media. The world has now become a small village whereby one can connect and share information and ideas while being miles apart physically. Social media has brought a barrage of benefits to humankind such as increasing brand recognition and website traffic since its inception. Nevertheless, despite the advantages realized, the advancements have brought about challenges as well. Coupled with the fact that most teenagers currently have control over these platforms, problems arising from the mismanagement of such platforms are spiraling out of control. These problems include diminishing understanding and thoyghtfullness,facilitating laziness, and cyberbullying. These effects adversely affect teenagers.
To begin with social media is highly addictive. According to research, social media can be more addictive than both cigarettes and alcohol for some people (McDaniels n.p). Addiction is a hazardous condition, especially to teenagers because they have plenty of leisure time. The condition affects the mental development of teenagers as they mostly think about social media and less about everything else(Bolton 254). They end up lacking productive thoughts that are healthy for their growth. Additionally, addiction hinders the participation of teenagers in other proactive activities such as bonding with their families. They end up forfeiting the warm embrace of their families, and this causes self-esteem problems in the latter stages of growth to adulthood. Addiction also effectively makes them indulge more into social media rather than detaching themselves from it. It creates a notion that they cannot do without social media.
Secondly, elongated use of gadgets such as computers, iPad, and smartphones to interact with social media bears an obvious danger since These devices are designed to emit electromagnetic radiation that poses a threat to eyes and nerves. Laptops and Cell phones constitute a threat from their electromagnetic field radio emissions (DefenderShield n.p). Tablets, on the other hand, expose teenagers to potentially dangerous electromagnetic frequency radiation that have a direct effect on the eyes of the user causing numerous visual complications (DefenderShield). Moreover, as is the case with all types of radiation, these emissions affect the nervous system of the user making them vulnerable to diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Ordinarily, the exposure to these rays ought to be limited to a short time, but teenagers find it hard to limit themselves due to the belief that their lives are dependent on social media.
Thirdly, social media exposes teens to cybercrimes that bear both physical and mental effects. Foremost, teenagers like informing their friends about their location and places they intend to visit or tour . Unfortunately, it is not only people that follow these updates have the best of interests. Stalkers often use these leads to locate their teenage victims and end up assaulting them physically and sexually. Social media makes gullible teenagers an easy pick. Additionally, social media exposes teens to cyberbullying. Most girls and boys who are active users of social media tend to believe everything said in it by celebrities as being the truth. This unfounded belief makes them easy prey for cyber bullies who take advantage of the physical distance between themselves and their victims and say all sorts of negative things concerning them.
Fourthly, teenagers who are exposed to social media are inculcated with an abnormal picture of what is considered good to the public eye. They are brainwashed to think that people will like them when they dress in a particular manner, engage in certain conduct, and talk in a certain way. Cases have been reported of teenagers smoking and embracing alcoholism because they saw it on social media (Kasteler) Girls are more preoccupied by what people think about them than boys, and they end up victims to this more often than their male counterparts. They end up going through great pain to change their body and facial looks to please the masses. This act often includes vigorous procedures to their physical bodies such as getting piercings, tattoos and even limiting their diet. Others go to the extreme of not eating at all to achieve the perceived perfect shape. This uncommon behavior carries its fair share of problems. Lack of food in the body will cause weaknesses and make one vulnerable to several diseases. If not treated early, hunger may lead to hospitalization in the long-run.
The fifth adverse health effect of social media is mental dementia which develops as a result of constant conflict with parents and family members. Every human is entitled to a loving and peaceful family. However, the absence of familial affection carries a detrimental effect on the development of the individual. When the family is present but the relationship between the members is anything short of loving and peaceful, similar results are experienced when the family is absent. Teenagers tend to submit and obey their celebrity icons more than their parents. They end up imitating what these celebrities do and negatively react to anyone that opposes them, especially their parents whom they refer to as being ‘old school.’Cases of teenagers being caught in adult entertainment places in an attempt to follow their celebrity icons are common. While some parents may understand this trend, others resort to adverse discipline methods such as excessive spanking or grounding, which leads to physical harm and mental harm respectively.
Lastly, social media recently became a dangerous medium for passing on deranged thoughts and actions to would-be victims. Few cases are existent of persons capturing themselves committing suicide and subjecting their bodies to certain forms of torture. An infamous example of this happened on Facebook and it involved a teen (Burke). This behavior produces a trend that is mostly picked by their followers and executed to the letter (Fox News). These acts present the worst effect of social media on teenagers. The number of suicidal attempts has risen immensely among these groups, and the media is playing the silent killer (Berman, Jobes, and Silverman n.p). Today, several deranged ideologies are being passed from one person to another through the media (McManus n.p). Teenagers are continually being radicalized and beginning to bear the ideas of radical groupings such as ISIS among others(Geiger).
The discussions elaborated above show that social media is not suitable for teenagers. However, the social media poses various advantages. These pros include exposing teens to positive networks and role modelsand getting help for separate issues, whether physical or mental, that are too sensitive to be discussed with parents. Nevertheless, the cause of these adverse health effects can also present the remedy required. Social media, therefore, is a tool that depends on the hands wielding it. Teenagers ought to be taught on the best practices of using social media rather than be criticised and demonized for using them social media.
Berman, Alan L., David A. Jobes, and Morton M. Silverman. Adolescent suicide: Assessment and intervention. American Psychological Association, 2006.
DefenderShield. “Tablet Radiation: Can a Tablet Computer Affect Your Health?”DefenderShield, 27 July 2017, www.defendershield.com/tablet-radiation-can-tablet-computer-affect-health/.
McDaniels, Andrea K. “How Does Social Media Affect Teen Health?” Newsday, 19 June 2017, www.newsday.com/lifestyle/how-does-social-media-affect-teen-health-1.13748410.
McManus, Brian. “An Expert Explains How Social Media Can Lead to the ‘Self-Radicalization’ of Terrorists.” Vice, 7 Dec. 2015, www.vice.com/en_us/article/qbxnz5/we-asked-an-expert-how-social-media-can-help-radicalize-terrorists.
Bolton, Ruth N., et al. “Understanding Generation Y and their use of social media: a review and research agenda.” Journal of Service Management 24.3 (2013): 245-267.
Kasteler, Jordan. “How Social Media is Influencing Your Behavior.” Search Engine Land, 4 May 2010, https://searchengineland.com/how-social-media-is-influencing-your-behavior-40615
Burke, Minyvonne. “Miami Teen Commits Suicide in Two-Hour Long Facebook Live Video.”NY Daily News, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 25 Jan. 2017, www.nydailynews.com/news/national/miami-teen-commits-suicide-two-hour-long-facebook-live-video-article-1.2955175.
Geiger, Dorian. “This Is How ISIS Uses Social Media to Recruit American Teens.” teenVOGUE, 20 Nov. 2015, www.bibme.org/mla/journal- citation/search?utf8=✓&q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.teenvogue.com%2Fstory%2Fisis-recruits-american-teens
Fox News. “Families blame ’13 Reasons Why’ for 2 teens’ suicides.” Fox News, 27 June 2017, http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/06/27/families-blame-13-reasons-why-for-2-teens-suicides.html