What’s going on with the youth and social media these days?
What do we live for nowadays? What’s going on with our youth and social media? What do we do to have fun and what do we spend most of our time doing? In addition to our basic needs like food and shelter, the new generations have developed a new need: social media. Thanks to their power of influence, social platforms have escalated to reach every corner of the planet, evolving to be used not only in social contexts, but also in police, economic and technological contexts in every language and environment.
We breathe Facebook, basically
Facebook leads the list of the most influential and important social platforms or applications, with more than 2.3 billion users and 900,000 new user logins every minute according to studies. These numbers help us illustrate how Facebook has become an important and necessary part in our daily routine. Thanks to these platforms, we can be constantly aware of what is happening worldwide, find out about news and trends, and stay in contact with our loved ones. So we could say that Facebook gives us a space for development and communication.
But, we must also consider the down side of social media platforms, and the disadvantage of information traveling so easily and without any type of filter or control. Take the example of the elections of the United States of America, that were affected because the power of Facebook and its data were used in questionable ways.. A famous guardian article exposed activities of a company known as Cambridge Analytica, which harvested the data of millions of people using Facebook. The data was acquired without the knowledge of users, and was used to create profiles for conditioning.
Similarly, people’s concerns about Facebook’s exposure to children are growing among parents. Since Facebook does not have a registration policy where it establishes a minimum age required to be a user, neither a content restriction option that parents can manage to control what their kids watch, there are few options when it comes to keeping kids safe on Facebook. A survey concluded that the average age of children who join Facebook is 11 years old. 40 percent of children spend more than 1 hour on Facebook every day and many have interacted with scammers.
These concerns have left parents aware of the down side of social media platforms such as Facebook. As a result, they are usually advised to take active roles in manually setting age restrictions, parental controls, teaching and implementing better privacy settings, and blocking inappropriate content.
The problem of being born with social networks
The relationship that the youth and social media share is significantly powerful of what we, as parents, know. We must be aware of the risks that anonymity and proximity represent on social networks. It is much easier to say and share harsh opinions and spread hatred through any social network, than in person. Our profiles give us a digital barrier where we can hide our true person, have an extreme opinion, and even have a different life, far from reality. This makes it difficult to recognise if a person really is who they say they are. For new generations, the consequences are even worse, since they have lived their entire lives with social networks as an essential component in their social fabric and method of interaction. This also helps them to become more susceptible and influential to the negative effects of social networks, such as aggressive comments and the most popular “online bullying”. Social media also breeds high-standards for social acceptance, which can lead to significant medical complications, such as mental disorders, dependency, anxiety and even suicide.
If you or someone you know is exposed to any form trouble online they should:
Avoid groups with toxic discussions and report if someone is bullying you or others
Discuss issues openly with adults and find spaces that are supportive
Approach organisations that work to help with such issues.
Block people who can hurt you, and beware of scammers.
I am Enough (Non-profit Organisation)
At I’m Enough we worry. We are a non-profit organisation that deals with digital related afflictions. We deal with concerns related to depression and anxiety caused through social media exposure.
We aim to embrace the benefits of social media, as well as understanding the problems related to technology and mental health.