The rise of Social Media among Teenagers
As the technology evolved and people became more and more tech-oriented, there was the inception of Social Media. Initially, social media was limited. As the amount of computer and desktop users were far less than what it is today. But as time flew by and smartphones became a necessity for everyone on the planet, social media became a part of everyone’s life.
From businesses to individuals, to already established brands to new start-ups, everybody became part of the phenomena. Now, it has become necessary for brands and budding businesses to have a good reputation online, to have a good customer base, and to profit.
Social Media Marketing is a domain part of all advertising agencies, and the cheapest way to get more engagement.
Studies state that almost 3.8 billion people around the globe use social media and are an active part of various social media applications. This number has doubled from what it was in 2015. Making an online reputation and being known online has become a ‘thing’ and is going nowhere as of now.
Teenagers on Social Media
Teenagers form a major chunk of the population that is into the usage of social media apps. Instagram and Tiktok have the highest audience base in the age group 18 to 25, followed by teenagers aged 13 to 17. Consumption of all these applications is steadily rising amongst teenagers.
Everybody uses social media distinctly. From sharing their pictures, sharing their artwork online, making friends, finding jobs, to striking a relationship. Today, these apps have become a medium of making a statement on issues they feel touched and want to talk about. It has become a medium to express their opinion. They find solace in creating an online identity which is otherwise difficult in real life. Teenagers use this as a stage to publish their talent as well. Making new pages solely dedicating it to their hobbies has become a new obsession for many people.
There is constant pressure on teenagers to outdo their friends online. Staying relevant and projecting an interesting life like everyone else becomes the most important aim and they often fall into depression when they are unable to achieve that feat. The emergence of a new wave of social media influencers has made it possible for people to get fame and money with the click of these apps. Teenagers are highly drawn into believing that succeeding by having a social media identity is easy.
Social Media also helps them to connect. Connect with everyone and anyone across the globe without any restrictions and make new friends. Social media is a mini representation of the world. People of all age groups from every ethnicity of the world are a part of the platform. This helps people in interacting with each other and gaining knowledge about various cultures. This also helps in making oneself, develop a global sensitivity.
Like everything, social media has its good and its bad too. The challenge remains to strike a balance. Social media has helped the world become inclusive. It has given a new medium for people not just to communicate, but also to criticize and scrutinize each other online from behind a screen. Social media is complicated, with so many people on it. There are many loopholes in its working methodology, the algorithms, and the direct influence it creates.
Teenage years are delicate. They are always out exploring new stuff, and they often get into things that they are not supposed to. Teenagers tend to believe everything and anything online. With social media providing a platform to express with anonymity, misusing of the platform has been at an all-time high in recent times.
Any sort of addiction is bad. Whether it is social media, drugs, or anything else. Indulging in online sessions for a long time and constantly thinking of the apps harm teenagers’ mental and physical health. After some time, they are trapped in the pretentiousness of the virtual world. It becomes impossible for them to imagine a life without social media. The detachment from virtual reality and understanding of the real world becomes harder.
Every platform has its own set of influencers. There are people spreading positivity and inspiring people out there. But, we see an equal amount of people misusing the platforms. Teenagers who are in the quest for answers to so many questions tend to believe social media influencers blindly. They find it hard to distinguish between people who are faking it, and realize the reality is way different than what is on the screen. This makes them dejected as the comparisons of their real-life is not similar to the virtual one.
In a rage to achieve what the screens project, they tend to take up wrong ways. From becoming hungry for likes to pestering the people around to give in to their demands they do everything under the sun for some clout.
In a world that is so diverse, an individual using any platform needs to be careful. And, should understand that there are all kinds of people on the planet and as said earlier, social media is a representation of the world. There should be a constant check on things that get posted beforehand so that no sentiments get hurt. But a teenage mind is not that mature to understand this. There are cases of cyberbullying every day. In many teenage cyberbullying cases, the victims are obviously teenagers but often the criminal is also a teenager. The percentage of cyberbullying found by a survey conducted by a firm across the globe says that 37 percent of Indian parents believe that there is constant cyberbullying over their child. Brazil and the US are just below them at 27 and 25 percent, respectively.
Teenagers are not capable of handling so much pressure and feel inferior in confiding in their parents. This leads them to make drastic decisions. 43 percent of teenagers were victims of cyberbullying in the year 2019. Many times it leaves a harsh impression on teenagers for life that is difficult to be undone.
People cornering and taking advantage of the other gender has been happening for a long time. With the onset of laws, the crimes have gone low but a stage where it is non-existent is still in the distant future. Social media gives an edge to such people who take advantage of the platform to hunt down prey online. Women and men alike have been part of the system and teenagers have been the most affected. Teenagers are easy targets. They are often prey to such exploitation. Often, the problem is exaggerated when teenagers find it embarrassing to seek help. Or, many times do not know how to seek help.
The Proper Use
Social media has its own share of bad aspects, but it is kind of impossible to completely keep teenagers away from it. Moreover deleting social media is not the solution. It is significant to teach teenagers to use the medium safely. Parents should look out for their children and monitor their use.
Parents of teenagers need to be kind and open to their children. They should inculcate trust in their offspring and make them believe that they can turn to the parents for any help.
Teenagers must be taught to be careful while approaching someone or something online. They should know the repercussions of their behavior on social media. The laws of cyberbullying and the probabilities of online fraud should be shared with them so that they can be careful. Parents should have open conversations with their teens. They should be taught how to socialize and how to be alert while doing so.
Social media is just a medium. It has its own pros and cons. Teenagers are budding adults with their quest for new information that might fall into the virtual trap. Proper supervision and knowledge provided can make the experience of social media helpful. Keeping teenagers aloof from the platforms makes no difference but teaching them to use it properly would benefit the future years as well.