Social Media platforms have been around for some time. Through the years more and more have emerged with several of them continuing to thrive and develop. These days, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and similar social media sites are being utilized by millions of people every day. A large chunk of social media users are teens. In the United States alone, surveys have shown that around 75% of teens have at least one active social media, and 51% are known to visit social networking sites daily.
The benefits of social media are manifold, from connecting people to being great venues for self-expression. Unfortunately, there are negative effects of social media platforms especially in connection with excessive use. Read on and learn more about the pros and cons of social media use, particularly by teens.
Pros of Social Media Use By Teens
There are several advantages of social media for teens. These reasons are primarily why parents and guardians allow them to maintain social media accounts despite the known disadvantages.
Here are some of them:
- Connecting With Family and Friends
Social media platforms typically come with messaging features that allow teens to easily connect with family and friends across the world. Posts serve as a way to keep up with each other without having to spend hours talking over the phone. Teens can easily find out what their relatives and friends are up to, from the simplest things like a change in hairstyle to big news like having a new job or getting engaged.
- Being Part of a Community
Social media connects people, and one great way it does this is by allowing people of the same hobbies and interests to meet and build an online community. These social media communities (often through Groups) can serve as your teen’s virtual support system and online safe space.
- Expressing Oneself
Social media can serve as a stage for your teens. It can be a great place for them to express themselves and their interests. Outgoing teens utilize these platforms to make more friends and reach a wider audience. Other teens utilize social media to explore their interests, hobbies, and practice social skills.
- Boosting Self-Confidence
As teens are enabled by social media to express themselves, they also learn to build their self-confidence. This is not only in connection with performing or exhibiting their talents but also in learning to celebrate who they truly are.
Social media is a great venue for teens to be more conscious of current issues, how said issues affect them, and what measures they can take to be part of positive change. There are also various pages, channels, and personalities on social media that actually share relevant information and useful knowledge. It is, of course, up to parents to ensure they follow and watch personalities that can teach them positive and useful things.
- Inciting Positive Feelings
Social media has been said to have a negative impact on one’s mental health; while this may be true in some cases, we have to acknowledge that it can also increase one’s happiness. Remind teens to consider social media as a place to build meaningful relationships and positivity. You can also teach them to recognize toxic things on social media which they should stay away from.
Cons of Social Media Use By Teens
As previously mentioned, there are disadvantages of social media that teens should be wary of. These disadvantages may have a great impact on the kind of adults that your teens grow up to be. Make sure to educate them about these things and to monitor their social media use.
Here are some of the disadvantages of social media:
- Affected Social Skills
While it is true social media allows your teens to connect with other people, remember these are virtual connections. As teens continue to communicate more through texts and chats, they also utilize in-person social skills less and less. As a result, their real-life, face-to-face interactions are greatly affected.
- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
FOMO is one of the most commonly known cons of social media use that does not just affect teens but also most social media users. Among teens, FOMO is typically triggered by seeing friends hanging out or having fun without them. This will then lead to constant social media browsing.
- Loss of Focus
Teens often spend hours scrolling through and posting on their social media accounts if they go unchecked. Due to this, they often lose track of time and lose focus on doing chores and even their studies. This is true not only for social media use but for phone use in general.
Social media is, unfortunately, full of trolls and cyberbullies. Such people seem to take pleasure at leaving rude comments or creating drama and chaos online. Fortunately, social media platforms are taking measures to combat cyberbullying.
- Inappropriate Content
From posts to messages, and even to pop-up ads, teens will inevitably come across inappropriate content while social media scrolling. Some platforms have features that aim to combat inappropriate content. Still, you should remind your kids to avoid interacting with people who perpetrate such content.
- Negative Body Image
Social media is often ridden with negative comments about someone’s physical looks like body shaming. There are also several posts that portray people with seemingly perfect bodies. Though very different, these two things can lead teens to feel insecure and inadequate.
Frequently Asked Questions About Social Media & Kids
- Is social media bad for kids?
Like most things, social media use has its pros and cons. Pros include connectivity, being part of a community, and building self-confidence. Cons include FOMO, loss of focus, and cyberbullying. Make sure to guide your teen and teach them to be responsible social media users.
- What age is appropriate for social media?
Typically, 13-years-old is a good age for kids to join social media, according to the platforms themselves and parents. However, kids often join such platforms at younger ages.
- How does social media affect education?
Social media can be a source of knowledge. However, it can also lead to students losing focus and a lack of sleep which can impact their studies.
- Does social media affect teenage mental health?
Yes, it has been proven social media use by teens could lead to anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and loneliness. Such activities that could lead to these include cyberbullying, trolling, FOMO, and body shaming.
- Should parents limit teenagers’ use of social media?
It all depends on your child. If they are just starting on social media or you notice they are on social media too much, it is wise to restrict their screen time.
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