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How Social Media can Influence Your Teen

Over the years, social media has become a significant part of our lives, and it is especially popular among teenagers. Kids can create an image of themselves according to their likes, dislikes, interests, and aspirations. Social networking is a useful tool that can help them in various ways. Aside from the practical benefits, social media is a source of entertainment and a platform where they can freely express themselves. Using online chat apps teenagers can interact globally and stimulate their intellect. They can gain a lot from social media in terms of knowledge and exposure. On the flip side, there is also a lot of unnecessary information available which can have adverse effects on teens who are hooked on social media.

  1. Lack of social skills:

Teens are experts when it comes to keeping themselves busy after school, till late at night. Whether they are eating in the dining room, studying in the lounge, or using the toilet, they have their cell phones with them. They are either texting, posting, liking, sharing or commenting, etc. There’s plenty of non-verbal communication going on when they’re using social media. And although it is convenient for them, this form of communication does not help them develop any real social skills. Communicating through social media does not involve using gestures or facial expressions which are necessary for interaction in real life.

  1. Unable to form genuine bonds:

The process of making friends is an important part of our lives, especially when we’re young. Making friends comes naturally to some teens, while some have to try harder. However, maintaining friends is tougher than making friends, and you can’t call someone a friend unless they are proven worthy of the title. Friendships are all about trust, patience, and loyalty and you need to be able to observe the behavior of a person in various situations to assess whether they are friend material. Social media offers little opportunity to thoroughly get to know someone.

  1. Bullies have more power:

It is unfortunate that bullies exist even in the digital world. People end up saying things to each other that they wouldn’t dare to in real life. In a civilized society, there is tolerance for differences of opinion and if even there is strong conflict, it is dealt with in a dignified way. On social media, people make statements without thinking about the consequences. They often tend to exploit the platform for targeting or humiliating someone they don’t like. Bullying on social media can completely shatter a teenager’s self-esteem because there is a greater audience to witness the humiliation as compared to real life.

Also read: Everything you Need to Know About Online Relationships

  1. Sense of competition:

Teenagers like to update their statuses constantly and take an even greater interest in what other people are up to. Whether they like someone or dislike someone, they feel tempted to check the person’s newsfeed. Obsessively looking at other people’s stories can lead to feelings of discontentment. Teenagers might develop an inferiority complex if someone else’s newsfeed looks more happening. Instead of working towards achieving their own goals, they waste time talking and possibly resenting others.

  1. Friends of convenience:

Through social media, you can connect with several people and while using online chat apps you can talk to several people simultaneously. There are people that you used to meet occasionally and spend quality time. Ever since you added them to your social media friend’s list, you don’t call them or feel the need to pay them a visit. Teens feel flattered when they see their friends’ list increasing in number but what they don’t realize is that they’re neglecting real people for numbers.

  1. Feelings of emptiness:

After sending a good number of hours using your social media account you still end up feeling empty and lonely. Teens who are obsessed with social media miss out on their chances of making real friends. They are so busy taking in random bits of information about people they barely know that they become numb to the presence of people around them. They begin to take real relationships for granted and unknowingly push people away. This eventually leads to feelings of isolation and loneliness and the vacuum cannot be filled by social media notifications.

A lot of teenagers use online chat apps and social media as an escape from their real surroundings. Adolescence is a very challenging phase for children and their parents. It is the time kids go through major physical and emotional changes that often make them feel awkward. They try to get as far away from the people who have even the slightest bit of control over them. Parents need to be very patient and understanding at this stage so that kids feel comfortable in their presence. Social media is a useful tool, but like any other tool, if used inadequately, it can bring harm.

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