Should Social Media Use be Encouraged Among Teenagers?

The modern times has seen many people especially teenagers, using more of their time on the internet and social media. Many people belief that social media usage is beneficial to the society and to these young people since it brings increased learning and increased interaction. Others believe that the benefits of social media are too much and it should not be ignored. They argue that internet and social media usage should be encouraged for more globalization and development. However, this should not be the case since social media use negatively affects teenagers’ interaction and concentration. In some cases, social media promotes cyber-bullying, whose eventual effects may lead to suicide and depression among teenagers. Because of this, teenagers should not be permitted to use social media or even sign up since they are not mature enough to know the negative consequences when they post private information on social media, they may be overly dependent on it, and it may cause them to be narcissistic.

 
 

As explained in the introduction, those who promote social media use among teenagers argue that it is very beneficial and its usage should be encouarged. For example, in their research on its social consequences, Katz and Rice argue that the internet, which includes social media, has real and impending benefits, which include benefits in the area of interaction, access and involvement. In fact, this is the major reason why most government spends much of their funds promoting internet access since they believe that internet is good. In their efforts, governments do not seem to discriminate against institutions. However, they belief that offering preferential access benefits to institutions, which mostly harbors young people and hospitals might bring increased benefit not only to the young but also to the society. The authors also believe that access will increase communication across culture and hence create benefit through shared knowledge and idea among teenagers. 

In addition to this belief, there is also a belief by the authors that internet helps linking people interested in civic involvement. The internet also links these people with those organizations that require their help in order to fulfill the interests of the people, the society as well as governments’ interest on their people. Getting involved through social media also draws other people because of association benefits and mobilization of resources to solve societies’ problems.

On social interaction, Katz and Rice belief that social media and the internet in general helps people in making friends. In addition, social media helps others in finding their life partners whether short or long-term partners. It is through social media that most families have been able to stay in touch with one another especially in the modern world, which has given room for disintegration of people all over the world. Social media, according to the same authpr promotes the learning of family histories by youths and the society in general. From the comforts of their homes, many people access such information and even get inspired to pursue different artistic ventures. Blease also seems to support Katz and Rice in their arguments. For example, Blease argues that there is a relationship between social media and depression or dysphoria. The researcher finds a term named “Facebook depression” as the affective results of spending too much time on the social networking site. The users of Facebook may be less depressed under three circumstances: the user has larger number of friends online, the user spends much more time to read updates from friends, the user does so recurrently, the updated information tends to be of praise nature. 

Social media is also explained by some researchers as having the ability to improve the self esteem of most teenagers. This is by evoking a feeling of social identity and also increasing tele-presence and altruism. In relation to tele-presence, most teenagers seek intense emotional interaction among one another. Because of this, social media is good as it help teenagers in sharing their feeling through different methods such as messages. By increasing teenagers’ social identity, social media helps them in expressing their feelings though positive messages. In such cases, it becomes hard for the teenagers to experience depression since they share or communicate negative feelings. Social media is also explained by supporters as having the ability of increasing users’ self esteem, which is the one that determines how people value themselves and is also the one that constitutes people’s personality. Through social media, people build up their self esteem as it helps in reducing their anxiety levels when interacting with others. In most cases, people using social media have great confidence especially when interacting with one another. They are therefore likely to express their opinions than when they do it face to face. When these positive effects are translated into real life, such people are likely to exhibit positive associations. They are also likely to perform their tasks better because they are more motivated and satisfied than before. 

While these are the views of most researchers, I strongly belief that social media does not benefit teenagers. Because of this, their usage should be regulated. One of the reasons why I belief so is because teenagers are not mature enough to differentiate between what is right or wrong. This is supported by Katz and Rice’s arguments who although they find numerous benefits on using social media, they later argue that there are some negative effects. For instance, in the same area of access and participation, the same authors argue that the internet brings about digital divide where two groups of people are divided on the same concern. The same authors argue that internet leads to marginalization of some groups of people. Because teenagers can barely tell the distinction between the negatives and the positives and because they can barely protect themselves from the negatives, and then they should not be allowed to overuse it. 

Another reason why social media should not be allowed among teenagers is because it increases narcissism among teenagers.  This means that social media leads to self centeredness and self absorption where people keep to themselves and barely interact with others. This argument has been supported by various researches in this area. For example, in their research on the same, Buffardi and Campbell after collecting numbers on the website Facebook and using the evidence of statistics, tables and graphs explored how Narcissism prove in the sites. They also explored how narcissism was obvious in the Web pages. They asked questions like does narcissism predict activity in a Web community, and can the egotism of a page owner be scraped from the Web-page. Eventually, the authors came into conclusion that social networking is dominating human lives, and it is a significant part on the interaction. They also found out that narcissists act, portray themselves, and perceived on social networking sites in a similar way to how they behave in offline life. 

The same was proven true by Kariou et al, in their review of the literature on the same issue and their research to prove this. The researchers found out that social media use negatively affects teenagers and the researchers explained that overusing of social media leads to isolation and loneliness. The same platforms also affect the self perception and the self esteem of users, especially teenage users whose self esteem is under development. The researchers explained that the main reason that most teenagers use social media is for reasons of social development and social presentations. Because of this, most of them end up losing themselves especially when they join too many groups since most lose their sense of belonging. 

In conclusion, internet usage, especially in the modern world has increased since most people use the internet and social media for different reasons. The beliefs that follows this usage and, which supports increased internet use is that it benefits users and the society in different ways. Some argue that globalization, interaction and involvement are increased through internet use. Other family values, opportunities and the like are increased through social media and internet use. Because of this, most people argue that internet use should be encouraged among students and in the society. However, these people ignore the fact that social media and the internet in general has many negative effects such as narcissism, isolation, loneliness and also dominates people’s lives. They also ignore the fact that teenagers are not mature enough to understand the negative consequences of social media especially when they use it to post private information. Some of them become overly dependent on it, which is the reason why some become isolated and narcissistic. Because of these reasons and many others, teenagers should not be permitted to use social media. They should only use the internet in special circumstances and with maximum supervision until they are off age in order to avoid the many negative effects of the heavy usage. 

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