This article will discuss why social media is bad for teens and we will also examine what role social media plays in how people interact in general.
The social media apocalypse is upon us. As a friend of mine put it,
“I’ve heard there are about 3 billion people on earth now, but there’s only 24 hours in a day, right?”
As one of my senior friends at Stoneman Douglas told CNN, social media has played a central role in bringing the issue of gun control to the forefront of public opinion.
However, it should also be said that social media has made many aspects of life much simpler.
It allows us to be an active participant in many human interactions and to share pictures, links, and comments on many of these interactions.
However, it also has brought us into a world where bullying, intimidation, and even assault are being committed through cyberbullying.
It has brought us to a world where we are trapped in a spiral of our own creation and a world where we are living with the constant fear of the next cyberbullying tweet.
As a psychologist, I do believe that it is important for adolescents to engage in all facets of social media as long as they are being mindful of the potentially negative consequences that come with it.
However, I do not believe that that the epidemic of cyberbullying is healthy for teenagers or for society at large.
What is bullying?
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), cyberbullying is when a person uses any communication device (computer, mobile phone, and the like) to send or post electronic messages to a child or adolescent in a bullying fashion.
This bullying can be of a verbal nature such as cyber-stalking or online humiliation or be of a physical nature such as online bullying or physical bullying.
So if you are not familiar with this, here is an example of cyberbullying:
An adult sends a lewd text message or sends an inappropriate picture of themselves.
An adult sends a text message or sends an email to a child or adolescent that makes a hurtful or aggressive statement such as, “I’ll do what you say or else I’ll hurt you.”
A parent tags their child in a post that encourages a teen to engage in illegal or dangerous behavior.
A parent tags their child in a post that encourages the teen to engage in an illegal or dangerous behavior.
A parent tags their teen in a video or image that encourages the teen to engage in illegal or dangerous behavior.
A parent tags their teen in a video or image that makes a joke about an illegal or dangerous behavior.
A parent tags their teen in a post that makes a joke about an illegal or dangerous behavior.
What are the risks?
The evidence suggests that cyberbullying has a number of potential negative effects on adolescents.
However, I would say that the main negative consequences that I have seen from social media are increased feelings of loneliness, loneliness, decreased interpersonal awareness, decreased social awareness, and increased negative social behaviors.
Here are some of the possible signs that could be some warning signs:
Loneliness is often cited as one of the strongest warning signs of social media usage.
Loneliness is the feeling of not being connected to other people, often resulting from isolation or self-imposed isolation from people in general.
Loneliness is often accompanied by an increased sense of isolation from a family member or an increased sense of disconnection from friends and family.
Decreased interpersonal awareness:
A decrease in interpersonal awareness is a potential consequence of social media usage.
Interpersonal awareness refers to the ability to recognize and take the time to listen to others, understand their needs, and reciprocate by giving them support.
According to the American Psychological Association, “People who are in touch with others in a personal and meaningful way are better able to withstand the anxieties and challenges that come with everyday life.”
Having a good sense of empathy for others helps to foster social support.
Decreased social awareness:
The development of social awareness is a consequence of social media usage that has been the subject of much research.
Social awareness refers to the ability to perceive the context and implications of oneself and the world around oneself.
According to the Gallup Organization, “Social media may have a similar effect on developing empathy that drugs do.
For example, drugs can increase empathy and make us more attuned to others, as evidenced by studies where people who take marijuana will talk about their experiences with others.
Social media might have similar effects.”
Increased negative social behaviors:
With the increased use of social media, the possibility of using social media as a platform to initiate negative social behaviors has grown.
According to Psychology Today, “As teenagers start using social media, they frequently leave behind the filter of interpersonal sensitivity that normally protects them and starts to see others more objectively than ever before.”
Implications for parents
In light of these implications, I would suggest that parents monitor their teenagers’ social media usage, and also encourage them to log out of their accounts when they are in social settings where they could have negative consequences.
Parents also need to encourage their teens to spend more time offline, outside of social media.
Additionally, it would be helpful to teach your children that the Internet is a place where they should be careful to report when something they see is unsafe or objectionable.
If you or your children witness a potentially dangerous social media activity, such as cyberbullying, or harassment, it is important to be ready to step in and stop the activity.