How Social Media is Impacting the Modern Day Youths?
Social Media has transformed the entire world into a global village where people can interact freely with their dear ones located remotely via merely few clicks or taps. While this steeply rising trend has affected all and sundry, its impact on the lives and times of the modern day youth has been maximum. Though a majority of younger lots prefer being the part of social media revolution for their benefit, there are many who have unfortunately got addicted to it. Let’s elaborate this topic further and find out if social media is in fact a boon or a bane for the younger generation.
The rise and rise of social media
Youths were never inspired by any emerging phenomena that much until social media came to the fore. The unprecedented clutch of this most vibrant trend nowadays is being further endorsed by survey reports from recognized bodies worldwide as well.
One such survey conducted by TCS with the name of “TCS GenY Survey 2012-13” targeted the ‘Post-Millennial’ generation. It included responses of more than 17,000 students of age group 12-18 years from urban high schools spread across 14 cities all over India. The main findings included:
- Used by above 65% of the respondents, Mobile phones emerged as the favorite gadget of the youths.
- 18% of the youths access internet through mobile phones, which is only next to their internet use at home (72%).
- One in every four youngsters access internet for more than 60 minutes on daily basis while above 50% do so for 30+ minutes every day.
- 73.65% youngsters use internet for academic research work, more than 62% use it for social media activities such as chat/connect/blog.
- A staggering 73.68% of the respondents all over India use Facebook/Twitter as their communication handle, leaving SMS, Voice call, email and instant messaging way behind.
Another survey report published on Socialmediachimps depicts the impact of social media to even deeper extent. It says:
- 5 million Facebook users are aged under 10.
- 58% of the Facebook users among children are from the age group 13-17.
- 50% of teens login to their FB account at least once in a day.
- Girls aged 16-17 years are most prone to cyber bullying attacks.
- 10% teens have had their embarrassing photos being posted on social media sites without permission.
- On the brighter side, social media promotes collaboration, creativity, communication, technological proficiency and leadership qualities.
The Mixed reactions
The reports above altogether give a mixed bag of reaction. While they put social media in a good perspective most of the times, they also highlight the downside of their excessive use the other times.
Talking about the plus points of Social media, there are many:
- Preferred medium to share ideas, exchange news, etc. in online communities.
- Helps youngsters as well as the grownups to stay connected with others located distantly.
- Strengthens the relationships between friends, who rarely ever met in person.
- Ideal platform to express oneself, without worrying about what others will say.
- Perfect place to be a social butterfly.
- Ideal place to furnish or fetch details of academics, recruitment drives, etc.
Besides many of its advantages, social media has impacted the youth of modern times adversely as well:
- Teenagers who spend much time on social media have less time to spend with friends and family.
- Most of the young users are not even 10 years old, this could cause severe concerns to their privacy over the web as well the security of device data.
- Parents have their own busy schedule, which leaves them with little time to control browsing habits of their young ones on the social media.
- Incidents of cyber bullying and electronic aggression among grownup teens have been on rise.
- Kids may develop a feeling of isolation in their real life while they are hyper active online.
Social media threats
School students or teenagers are still young enough to tackle certain issues they come across online. As per the research work by Daniel J. Flannery named “Social Media and its effects on youth”, victims face two such major threats online:
Cyber bullying: The incidents of cyber bullying mostly take place on social networking sites and blow down pages. While 30% of the students in middle and high school have been identified as victims or culprits, 18% of the affected students are girls as compared to 12% boys. Unfortunately, 15% of these victims attempt suicide out of depression.
Electronic aggression (EA): Harassment caused through emails, chat rooms, instant messaging, text messages, fake websites, etc., also pose a major threat to the privacy and safety of youngsters over the social media. The report says, 9% to 35% youngster have been affected by EA at any point of their young age.
Dealing with Social media threats
Considering the fact that the young social media users are still in the nascent stages of their lives, their elders need to put forth certain effective measures to ensure their safety online:
- Parental guidance: It is important to understand the behavior of kids while using internet; whether they sit alone or with family, what they access, etc.
- Activate Privacy options: Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites have their own privacy settings. You can customize them to maintain utmost secrecy of your kids’ account while they are online.
- Educate youths: Always be aware and make sure to educate your younger lots as well about every possible risk they may get exposed to while accessing internet, preferably social media sites.
- Protect credentials: Don’t disclose important phone numbers, email ids, passwords, bank account nos., instant messenger IDs, addresses, etc., before your kids until you believe they are mature enough.
- Maintain secrecy: Encourage your kids not to disclose any sensitive information over the web, be it related to them, their family or friends.
- Activate filters: It is better if you can use filters to block the content of any unwanted or objectionable site.
- Implement Firewalls: You can also implement firewalls that could keep a regular check on fraudulent sites, cyber bullies and those involved in electronic aggression.
To conclude, social media is definitely a boon for all of us, especially the younger lots, as it makes up for an accomplished dose of fun, entertainment and leisure, perfectly blended with important news you can use about the things happening around you. However, when it comes to safeguarding the interests of your young ones over the web, it is essential to follow certain effective steps so that they may not fall prey to fraudulent or illicit acts happening across the social media.
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