Use of Social Media among the Teens
According to the research presented by Reid and Weigle (73) in 2015, 95 percent of the teens have internet access among which 70 percent use it daily. Today, many teens own Smartphones, iPad, video game consoles and even tablets that facilities their online anytime. In the current internet-driven world, almost everything has been digitalized with very few activities done offline. Likewise, the physical interaction among people has significantly reduced, and as a result, the online platforms are now the main tools for socialization. However, some parents and stakeholders have been against the use of social media among teenagers by arguing that they have adverse effects on their kids. Permitting kids to own social media accounts such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram come with a lot of benefits including giving them a place to socialize, aiding their emotional development and improving the social skills of the anxious children. Inarguably, social media has been a significant mean of communication for teens. Besides, it plays an essential role in the lives of teenagers. In the era where everything has been technologized, it is hard for adolescents to form and maintain close and meaningful relationships, and it is only social media which can solve this teenage developmental problem. Social media offers teens with the ideal chance to form new friendships as well as maintain the existing ones (Reid and Weigle 73). Unlike before, today’s parents have become very protective, and they would prefer their children to stay indoors instead of going outside to play and interact with their peers. Social media can address the peer-socialization gap among teens in modern society. Research, as argued by Reid and Weigle (73), has shown that teens primarily use social media to communicate with offline friends including making time together, gossiping, discussing everyday issues and making plans. Based on the social development role it plays in the lives of the teens, their access to Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram should be allowed.
Teenage is the growth phase in which children develops secure and firm identities as well as grow sexually. The two are essential traits among adolescents, and they accomplish them through self-disclosure and self-presentation (Reid and Weigle 73). Social media is among the primary platforms that provide teens with the avenue and practice these skills. With access to social sites, teens will be able to shape their identities by deciding the kind of information they will share and what they will share about themselves and whom to share it with. When teens share specific information or aspects about themselves, they occasionally receive feedback from their peers, and they may use it to modify their self-presentation. The acceptance and the validation that teens receive from their peers’ comments are vital for the development positive sense of self and self-esteem. As such social media is a fundamental tool for the emotional development of teens, and parents should embrace its use among their children.
Adolescents, especially girls are nervous, and perhaps unable to express themselves through face to face communication. The social media offers anonymity that can help shy and anxious teens to communicate effectively. It gives the shy kids a place to practice social skills comfortably. Besides, particular teens are self-conscious about their body images and appearances, and they prefer online communication where they will be judged according to their views rather than physical appearance (Reid and Weigle 74). Social media is also helpful to teens facing isolation, shame, and distress. For example, a kid may be uncomfortable with the culture adopted by their societies, but through social media, they can link with others whom they feel they share similar interests. It is apparent that social media provides limitless opportunities for restless kids to express opinions, interests, and creativity as well as develop their hobbies.In the wake of pervasive technology and the internet, many teens have had access to social media sites. Today, social interaction has been made easier since people can engage while in different regions of the world. Nevertheless, the emergence of the social media has come with its adverse effects to the users and more so the adolescents. For example, the research has confirmed that overdependence on social media causes depression and anxiety, encourages cyberbullying, and leads to unrealistic expectations, creates negative body image, leads to unhealthy sleep patterns and causes general addiction (Uhls et al. 869). The adverse effects of social media have seen many parents deny their kids access to social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Like the rest of the society, preteens and teens under sixteen have the right to interact and socialize, and therefore, they should be allowed to have Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts.
Social media is a crucial channel in the lives of teens. It offers a venue for the children to interact by sharing their interests, opinions, hobbies as well as communicating with their peers. Social media is also useful in the emotional development of the kids. Finally, social media assist fearful kids by giving them a chance to practice and develop their social skills. However, the overuse of social media has adverse effects on kids. For example, they may become addictive, encourage cyberbullying and create negative body image. As such, it is important for the parents to monitor the behavioral change among their children which may appear to have been caused by the use of social media. However, parents should not object its use among teens since social media benefits supersede the side effects.