Social Media: Risks For Teenagers
When it comes to social media, teenagers are faced with the risk of being ridiculed and judged constantly on social media sites. Social media is a way to interact and connect with family or friends on the internet. The public is kept up to date on the latest trends and posts all around the world. However, in many cases, social media causes more harm than good. Being on social media can expose many people to hateful comments, hurtful tweets, and feeling isolated. What someone posts online, it can be perceived as offensive and shameful to others. Cyberbullying is a negative effect of having a social media platform. On social media, people are able to say anything to anyone. One can do this without anyone knowing who he really is. The amount of power and freedom someone has to speak their mind on the media can affect people’s mental and emotional health tremendously. Teenagers constantly feel like they are being judged and social media causes more gossip to spread. This leads to some parents to be apprehensive. Social media is an easy way for online bullies to torment, harass, and negatively affect someone’s life.
One of the many things that teenagers do not think when posting online, is that words do hurt profoundly. When posting a comment or directly messaging another, most teens do not think to themselves that this might hurt the other, either mentally or emotionally. However, some do think this way and want to emotionally hurt someone and are classified as cyberbullies. These cyberbullies have easy access to social media and may take it to their advantage. Cyberbullying is a major concern and is especially not tolerated in schools. Many cyberbullies do not reveal who they are because, “social media allows us to hide things about ourselves” (Russell). If a student was to cyberbully another peer online, they will most likely not know who it was and not know how to report it. A bully may be too reluctant to say something offensive to another’s face and will do it online instead. According to Dr. Donna Wick, what teenagers say to their peers online, “you would never in a million years contemplate saying to anyone’s face” (qtd. in Ehmke). Most people want to minimize the risk of them getting in trouble for saying something appalling at school. So, they type it out in a tweet or a Snapchat. Social media is commonly used to say hateful messages and is often done anonymously.
Today, cyberbullying makes teenagers feel vulnerable. Social media follow teens everywhere they go. When they are at home, a horrific thing may be said online, causing them to be humiliated. This causes the teen to not want to go to school because they are afraid of what will be said about them next. When they get teased at school and at home, “they no longer have a place where they can escape” (Gordon). This often time leads into anxiety or depression. A teen may also feel suicidal because of this and need to seek out medical help. When teenagers are online constantly, they are more permitted to being affected by cyberbullying. The more social media sites a teen is on, the bigger chance they have at being exposed to harsh things said about them. According to “Teen Cyberbullying and Social Media Use on the Rise”, an informational and donation based website, because of the constant use of online activities, “teens either witness cyberbullying, are a victim of it, or become a perpetrator” (Teen Cyberbullying). It is important to stop and discuss cyberbullying, in order to not prevent the number of teens who are a victim to increase.
Social media can be put to good use, but often it is used as the opposite. Cyberbullying is something that many high school students deal with daily because of all the media they have access to. What people say negatively towards their peers, or their friends hurts them and can potentially contribute to hurting themselves. Parents and schools need to educate students on the appropriate way of using social media responsibly and the effects that happen when used to intentionally hurt someone. If society treats this issue facetiously, millions of teens will be affected. Social media should be used to connect with friends, to see what everyone is up to, and being able to be candor. It should not be used to make another feel horrible about themselves or be used to make fun of how someone looks or acts. Technology needs to be used sensibly and appropriately to ensure everyone who uses it is safe and untroubled.