Its 10:00 at night, do you know where your teenager is? If this question was asked to a parent around 10 years ago the answer would most likely be, AT home, or in their room. There was this sense of confidence that parents had about their childs activity. Nowadays, half the time parents are unaware their child has a social media account that they are constantly glued to.
Social media allows youngsters to interact online and make new friends but it can also become the basis for anxiety and depression in young adults.
Having a social media account is all fun and exciting but not when things get out of hand. Many research studies have shown that there have been many changes in teens attention spans, completing difficult tasks and lower reading levels in the teens of this era.
A survey of teens in the U.S., conducted by Pew Research Center, reported that 72% said they used Instagram as their main source of social media.
Out of this 72%, 38% admitted they used this platform several times a day. This increased in activity has led to many psychological disorders in teens including early signs of anxiety and depression. The 2014 National Health Assessment discovered that 54% of students encountered anxiety in the past 12 months of using social media and about 32.6% felt depressed. As a parent you wouldnt want your child to a part of this percentage.
A famous quote said by Kurt Vonnegut is, We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful who we pretend to be. By forming these fake friendships online, teens tend to lose idea about their values. They tend to focus only on the numbers (of followers, likes, tweets, messages, or comments.) Teens nowadays tend to post pictures of what seems to be a fantasy to please their followers and continue their fan following. They project themselves as what people want rather than who they truly are as individuals.
In my own experience as a teenager, I have used social media platforms. I would turn to social media during my study breaks. I would notice since I opened up one account I would be prone to opening the other accounts. I would lose track of time in my breaks and see myself sitting in front of the screen for extended periods of time. It would seem like an addiction.
Social media allows opportunity for our teens to be exposed to pressure from society. The pressure of fitting in, popularity, and being able to make proper judgement about their activities. The using of platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook speeds up this process for teens which leads to development of issues like anxiety and low self-esteem. The upcoming generation needs to be eased of this social pressure. Parents should explain to their child that sometimes not being noticed or not fitting in can be good as well. Winning second place is not bad. They should be explained that they dont need to market themselves on these social platforms to gain liking from people sitting across the world.
Understanding the problem is one thing but now what should we do? We as a society should allow access to social media as steps on a ladder, not an all in one startup. A simple analogy would be to a drivers license. In our society we dont just give our teens a drivers license and let them cause havoc on the roads. Instead, we have created steps in between, like getting a drivers permit first and learn how to navigate the vehicle with an authorized person. This same process should be applied to the access of social media usage. Perhaps parents cna allow their child to set up an account and for some time have the authority to access and monitor their childs account without interfering in their child’s privacy.By making these simple choice parents dont have to worry about scheduling appointments with therapists and psychologists in the near future.