Social media: Harmful or helpful

Social media is a big part of a teenager’s life and has many positives about it, but there are also many negatives.

Social media is a big part of a teenager’s life and has many positives about it, but there are also many negatives.

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Teenagers today do not know a life without social media. People have used it in ways to help others, but people have also used it to hurt people.

Social media can be used to hurt people or to bully people without coming face to face with them. They can laugh at someone’s post and make them feel bad. For teenagers, it is a given when they are on social media.

“You kind of expect to experience it: nasty comments on the selfie, Facebook posts and Twitter posts, people screen grabbing your Snapchat story to laugh about it … I feel like it’s something people don’t take seriously. But leaving just one nasty comment could really hurt someone,” a 15-year-old girl from a study by the Children’s Society and YoungMinds, said.

Social media can also affect students’ education. It can distract teenagers from focusing on their work, and it can cause a loss of face-to-face communication among students in their class; most students would rather text or Snapchat instead of talking in real life.

“There can be an obsession to check and for social validation that can cause some teens to spend more time on it,” Mary Beth O’Brien, school psychologist at Homestead, said.

A risk associated with social media is adults preying on teenagers, using public profiles to make private profiles of people you may know in real life.

“Kidnapping, murder, robbery can be easily done by sharing details on social media. There are many cases registered in police station where adults target young children and lure them into meeting them,” the International Journal of Computer Applications Technology and Research found.

Social media can also be a place where people are scammed. Advertisements involved with social media can be fake advertisements created to gain personal information including credit card information.

“I had a bad experience with social media when I was on Instagram. I got an ad for Kendra Scott necklaces that was 15 percent off. I clicked on it and the website was an exact match to the real Kendra Scott website that I had shopped on before. I bought over a $100 worth of items but it turned out to be a scam. It was scary to think there are people out there that do this all the time, and I’m sure that the scam got more people than just myself. I think social media has done a lot of good, but it’s important to be aware of the negative things that come with something so great,” Lexi Buzzell, sophomore, said.

When teens use social media in a negative way it can offend and hurt. Mean comments and hurtful editing can cause anxiety and depression in some teenagers.

“ [A] study conducted in 2016 involving 1,700 people found a threefold risk of depression and anxiety among people who used the most social media platforms,” according to the University of Pittsburgh medical school and the Health Policy Institute at the University of Pittsburgh.

Social media can also be used in a positive way, however. It can be an outlet for teenagers who want help and who want to be distracted from something in their life.

“Positive use include[s] searching for positive content (i.e. for entertainment, humor, content creation) or for social connection,” a study by Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the RAND Corporation stated.

Social media can also be used in schools as learning tools. Teachers can use social media as a way to engage students in what they are working on. It can also be used after school for jobs and in everyday life.

“Teachers may post on social media about class activities, school events, homework assignments which will be very useful to them. It is [also] seen that social media marketing has been emerging in career option. Social media marketing prepares young workers to become successful marketers,” the International Journal of Computer Applications Technology and Research discovered.

Social media can help with a teenagers’ future careers. They can create accounts on LinkedIn a social media site designed for making business connections. Other social media sites can also be used to follow positive businesses and people.

“Career opportunities because of connections and life enhancement opportunities are possible with social media like LinkedIn,” O’Brien said.

Teenagers can even start their own businesses on applications like Instagram or Snapchat. For example, some teenagers have been selling clothing and making money on apps such as Poshmark. The clothes or accessories that are sold are less expensive than in stores. Teenagers are saving money and learning how to communicate with people and how to price things.

“Social media can be a positive thing because it allows me to sell my clothes that I don’t wear to people that will wear them and at a discounted price,” Alison Konya, sophomore, said.

Social media can have a positive effect on people’s lives. It can help people and allow people to feel like themselves more and it can decrease depression and loneliness in some teenagers.

“Twenty-five percent say using social media makes them feel less lonely, compared to 3 percent who say more; eighteen percent say using social media makes them feel better about themselves, compared to 4 percent who say worse; and 16 percent say social media use makes them feel less depressed, compared to 3 percent who say more,”a survey of over 1,000 teenagers from 13-17 years old conducted by Common Sense Media and Melissa Saphir, Ph.D., Saphir Research discovered.

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