Is the use of social media platforms beneficial or detrimental for the youth?

Experts have claimed that the impact of social media platforms have varied results, either extremely negative or extraordinarily positive.

Social media platforms are becoming more widespread with each passing day. The users connect with each other more comfortably in the virtual world as compared to the real world. Studies have revealed that the use of social media results in a bad impact on the people, especially in teenagers. The researchers from the reputable universities such as “Cambridge University”, “Donders Institute for Brain, cognition and behavior” and the “Oxford University” claim that the authorities of social media platforms must share more of their data with the scientists for better evaluation of the impact of social media on young minds. The scientists have a theory that these social media platforms at certain ages may have a major negative impact on the social and hormonal changes during the development of the brain.

Dr Amy Orben (a lead researcher) claimed that the link that lies in between the mental health and the use of these social media platform is highly complex and showed mixed results.Moreover, she stated that the changes that occur within a person’s body, (may it be the changes involving puberty, brain development or the social interactions) makes a person vulnerable at certain times of his or her life. About more than 72,000 people belonging to the United Kingdom were surveyed for up to 7 times in between the years 2011 to 2018. This self reported survey showed that the 16 years old to 21 years old adults having no or very high use of social media ( almost up to 7 hours) resulted in a compromised satisfaction in life, as compared to those people who have an exposure to social media for no more than three hours. And those who are younger than the above mentioned ages showed varied results, with the satisfaction in life reducing, as more use of social media platforms increases. ( or vice versa: which means greater satisfaction in life with less use of social media platforms).

Social media platforms can expose the people to online bullying, distraction, disturb their sleeping patterns, peer pressure and judgemental views on other people’s lives. Not only this but the social media use and teen depression are very closely linked with one another. The overuse of social media may result in cyber bullying, waste of time, depression and lack of interest. It is also reported that the use of such platforms leads to addiction. According to a report by Global Web Index in the year 2018, people from age 16 to 24 spend an average of about 3 hours and one minute every day to use these social platforms. However as mentioned earlier the ideal time to use the platforms is no more than three hours. Over use of such social platforms may result in mental health problems. In addition to this, a survey reported that about 90% of the teens believes that online harassment is a major issue for the people of their age.

As per a report by “Pew research center” in 2018 showed that 1 in every 6 teenagers have faced at least 1 of 6 different forms of abuse behavior on these social platforms that is: physical threats (16%), name calling (42%), sharing images without consent (7%), receiving vulgar images (25%), being tracked without consent (21%), false rumors (32%).

The negative impacts of social media are numerous and uncountable but it does not mean that social media has no benefits at all. With these social platforms, people from all over the world are able to connect with each other, with their relatives and friends without having to visit them. Many people across the world are running their businesses online and hence social media platforms serve as a major source of income for such people. Besides this, people share awareness on topics that are sensitive and important. Also, social media enables a person to learn new skills and find a passion to pursue. According to the experts, social media can also be a good source to help people maintain communication. Especially during the crucial times of COVID-19, social media platforms played a huge role to keep the people motivated and sane.

As per a report by “Pew research center” conducted in the year 2018, around 24% of the teenagers believes that social media platforms have a major negative impact on a person’s life, whereas 31% people tends to believe that the effect of social media is positive, while remaining 45% people believes that social media has no positive nor any negative impact on a person’s life.

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