Social media is definitely here to stay. It has changed how we network and stay connected with our loved ones, provided plenty of opportunities to make money and engage in civic responsibilities, and made our life easier in general.
Technology has become so crucial that kids have access to phones and laptops from as young as five years. This has become a dangerous phenomenon where teenagers join social media but lack the emotional capacity to handle its dark side.
In this article, we’ll explore the dangers of social media for teens to help you better understand the problem.
Results in a Negative Self-Image
Teenagers are often self-conscious regarding their looks and how their peers see them. Many young boys and girls develop a negative self-image because of the constant exposure to other people’s opinions about them, their bodies and personalities. This also happens when, for example, they see someone with a similar body type getting bullied and feel that they deserve similar treatment. Youngsters find comparison hard to deal with, and social media, unfortunately, is full of it.
Contributes to Sexual Promiscuity and Teen Pregnancy
Social media sites are notorious for sexually explicit content that arouses teens’ sexual curiosity. It also makes them desire to act in a manner that is beyond their age. This includes adopting the mannerisms and dressings of mature influencers they could have encountered on social media. This could result in many cases of teenage pregnancy. Social media platforms also make teens more susceptible to pedophiles who may manipulate them.
If you’re concerned about a number constantly calling your child, you must act. Start by looking up more details about the caller by running the number through PhoneHistory. Subsequently, ask your child for more information about the person reaching out to them and contact authorities if there’s evidence of wrongdoing.
Causes Mental Health Problems
Social media has resulted in a decline in mental health among teens. With cyberbullying, comparison, and the pressure to get likes, many teens have developed anxiety disorders from using social media. Negative experiences on most online platforms cause embarrassment, which propels youngsters into depression. Many teens may not be willing to share their struggles with families because they are afraid of being criticized and judged. Hence, this pressure could lead to problems with mental health and self-esteem.
Reinforces Peer Pressure
Most teenagers feel a lot of pressure to fit in. This has only been made worse by social media and the fear of missing out. Every day there’s a new trend involving risky behavior. With few limitations on what people can share online, teenagers are exposed to drug use, inappropriate sexual content, and violence. Youngsters may pick up on this content to seem cool and stand out among their peers.
Social media influencers also affect teenagers’ decisions. This is harmful as they cannot differentiate between commercial opinions, where the influencer is paid to sell a particular view, and the influencer’s genuine personal opinion.
Affects the Ability to Handle Failure
It’s common for most social media users to only share the positive moments of their lives. And in reality, it is hard for a teenager to understand that what goes on when the camera is off is different from when the cameras are rolling. They may be hard on themselves when they fail since they don’t find anyone to relate with online.
They could also compare themselves with fellow age mates who seem to be doing better than them without necessarily understanding what most people are going through. All this affects the ability to handle failure, making young people think that they are the only ones struggling.
Exposes to Misinformation and Fake News
The internet is never short of malicious people who spread fake news to cause harm or tension. Content creators also tend to be impulsive in sharing news on social media. Unfortunately, teenagers may lack the capacity to differentiate real news from fake news. This results in scenarios where youngsters believe fake news and spread this misinformation to the masses. This misinformation, in turn, might be easily trusted by older generations who aren’t tech-savvy, further multiplying the spread of fake news.
Promotes Anti-Social Behavior
While social media connects people worldwide, it has also resulted in users overlooking the individuals around them. Most teenagers despise authority and may avoid talking to their parents or relatives. The online world has further enabled this, allowing teens to distract themselves from family, social functions, and even friends. Social media feuds with real-life friends are common, too, and may result in alienation.
Bullying on social media is quite common. Most of the time, the bully will hide behind an anonymous account and could even be someone from the circle in the real world. This experience hits teenagers so hard that they may be unable to handle it emotionally. It also affects their mental health and could result in depression and anxiety. Their performance at school and social life are also at risk. Worse yet, they may be embarrassed to share this with their families and only suffer in silence.
Threatens Physical Safety
The online world has made us let our guard down on privacy. Posting personal information such as location, address, phone number, and other details makes teens a target for anyone with malicious intent. Geo-tagging features also expose young people’s real-time location to the public. Stalkers could easily use this information to find a teen and harm them.
Stimulates Social Media Addiction
Social media addiction is one of the biggest concerns in modern society. Unfortunately, teens are incapable of controlling their screen time. This weakness results in them neglecting their obligations and hobbies in real life. It also disrupts their sleep patterns. Additionally, it makes them inactive, which could result in unhealthy weight gain and other health issues.
Social media can be harmful to teenagers if used unsupervised. It could result in mental health issues, cyberbullying, social media addiction, physical security concerns, sexual promiscuity, negative self-image, peer pressure, anti-social behavior, and exposure to misinformation.
Parents and guardians need to maintain a healthy relationship with their teens so that it’s easy for them to open up when the time comes. Key pointers include when they spend more time on their phones than usual and forgo their hobbies and interests.