Today we live in the era of digital technologies and virtual communication. Technological progress has experience a very rapid development over the last couple of decades. As a result, computer technologies have grown to penetrate every sphere of people’s lives. The importance of digital devices is reflected in their heavy use by the individuals of almost all ages. Computer technologies and the internet have made a significant impact on the political, economic, cultural, and social aspect of our lives. This happened because of their influence on communication. The transformation of the mechanism, means, and speed of communication due to social media today has created major positive and negative impacts on every group of people, but teenagers happened to become affected the most.
Several years ago social media used to be viewed as an activity for lazy or idle individuals, and newly designed chat rooms and media platforms were perceived as dangerous places where teenagers were exposed to a variety of risks (Mashhadi par. 1). Today this attitude has changed at social media gained more popularity, influence and respect. Technically, any website where the users can engage into communication with one another is recognized as a social media site (Iqra par. 1).
This includes not only well known social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace but also various virtual worlds and online gaming websites. Comparing the way communication used to be just thirty years ago and the way it is today reveals a number of significant changes. First of all, mechanisms – decades ago to message a person one had to pick up a pen and write a letter, go to the post office and send it, and then wait for the answer. Today one opens their laptop, types the message and presses a “Send” button.
Secondly, means of communication used today and employed decades are very different – handwritten letters are almost never sent today, and landline phones are closing to being totally forgotten. Contemporary teenagers have never written a letter using pen, and never had to go to the post office to send it. Finally, speed of communication is transformed, what used to take days or even weeks takes seconds today, and if we have to wait a couple of hours for someone’s response it makes us nervous.
Among its positive impacts that stand out the most there is education. Using social media young people today have unlimited access to online libraries, news portals, educational websites, lectures and video tutorials providing information on basically any topic.
At the same time, this side of social media carries certain negative aspects. Unlimited access to information of all kinds allows young users learn about things such as violence, bullying, or terror. For example, one may find advice about how to make a bomb or how to use a gun online. Besides, the use of social networks facilitates a number of immoral behaviors and activities introducing children to sex too early. Moreover, social media is a huge distraction for the young students. This distraction is difficult to avoid because it has been made very accessible over years. Today, teenagers may check in to various social media using their computers, tablets or their cell phones.
Communication has been turned into an unstoppable process which makes it intrude into other spheres of people’s life and reduce their productivity. Under the influence of social media adults are distracted from work, and teenagers are kept away from studying.
One more positive impact of social media is the possibility of self-expression and self-searching. It is a well-known fact that teenagers are in the transitional stage of their development both physically and psychologically. This is why they are in a constant need of advice and inquiry considering various aspects of life and relationships. The overall confusion teenagers experience is quite overwhelming when young people have to deal with it on their own. Social media has one main function, it is to enable the communication between individuals, and this is exactly what teenagers need – finding the peers with similar interests or problems, gaining understanding and the feeling of togetherness.
At the same time, social media is all-consuming and tempting, it tends to take over young people’s lives, as a result they become more connected to their devices than to actual people around and cause negative impacts (Walaski par. 7). For example, latest research revealed that obesity is caused by the heavy use of social media creating social isolation of users, low-self-esteem leading to such issues as depression or even suicide (Altaf par. 3).
In conclusion, social media is one of the most fruitful products of the recent technological progress of our society. It carries a number of advantages and benefits the contemporary young people in multiple ways allowing free and fast communication, community involvement, education opportunities, self-expression and creativity. At the same time it has negative and dangerous sides such as online harassment and violence, inappropriate content, distraction, addiction and social isolation. Moderate use of social media monitored by adult supervisors may help make this product more suitable for the use of teenagers.
Altaf, Amna. “Impact of social media.” Pakistan Observer. 25.336 (2014). ProQuest. Web.
Iqra, Nawaz. “Social media impact on youth.” Pakistan Observer. 25.58 (2013). ProQuest. Web.
Mashhadi, Syeda Qudsia. “Impacts of social media in society.” Technology Times. 5.8 (2014). LexisNexis. Web.
Walaski, Pamela. “Social Media.” Professional Safety. 58.4 (2013): 40-49. ProQuest. Web.