How Social Media Has LED to Increased Cases of Cyberbullying Activitie

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The media is a huge part of many people's lives, of various ages, professions, groups, etc and they have an enormous influence on the actions we perform on a daily basis. As the fame of social media continues to spread all over Canada, there have been varied beliefs and thoughts about these complex networks and how they influence teenagers. Social media plays a significant role in many teenagers’ life. It is more convenient and much easier to access and provide information, as well as communicate through social media. Although adults aren’t under the pressure of the media as much as teenagers, teenagers as well as young children are most likely to fall into the trap of social media which include immediate, and long-term, dangers. So, at this point take a moment and think among yourselves “Is social media beneficial to teenagers?” The debate about social media and how they impact individuals rages on. However, social media introduces many compelling dangers, and this is why it’s not beneficial to teenagers. As mentioned, some dangers are immediate and others appear after a long periodic time of use. Social media could be dangerous to one’s mind because teenagers are exposed to cyberbullying, negatively affects teenagers’ mental health, as well as decreases productivity levels. We are all aware that teenagers are obtaining new cognitive, as well as social, skills at a striking pace. Adolescence is a fairly important period of their development, and not many of us Canadians are looking out for how the way teenagers use technology is influencing them.

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Cyberbullying is one of the many negative influences that displays itself on social media particularly for teenagers. Cyberbullying occurs when someone uses digital technology, such as the Internet, emails, text messages, or social media, to harass, threaten, or humiliate an individual. Cyberbullying doesn’t require face-to-face contact and isn’t limited to just a handful of witnesses at a time. It also doesn’t require physical power or strength in numbers. One of the biggest things that teenagers from the online virtual world are most likely to overlook is the fact that words hurt. Saying hurtful words online can amount to just as much hurt as saying hurtful words in person. Although, it takes place online, there are some things about cyberbullying that can make it exceptionally hurtful such as ; it can happen any time and reach a teen even if they’re alone, messages can be posted anonymously, and lastly deleting messages is very difficult. Nearly half of Canadian youth in distress report involvement in cyberbullying. For a fact, it is also proven that 65% of these youth, report that their victimization started over a year ago. Moreover, cyberbullying is easily more accessible on social media sites just because of the social freedoms that the sites allow teenagers to have and the amount of time spent which makes it more vulnerable to experience cyberbullying.This is the main reason why cyberbullying has increased from 17% to 20% in two years.After all, cyberbullying is a serious issue that needs the attention of the educators within school, parents at home, as well as teenagers themselves. It will unluckily continue to negatively influence the current, along with future generations with social media being the number one online activity when surfing on the Internet on a daily basis.

Although, social media is very engaging, it leads to teenagers spending a lot of time on them. Not only 94% of teens who go online using a mobile device do so daily, but 71% of teens say they use more than one social media site.Teens’ social media usage and attitudes are changing over time. In fact, the percentage of teens who engage with social media multiple times a day rose from 34% in 2012, to 70% in 2018. Social media use has grown exceedingly and teens are unfortunately becoming awfully hooked on their screens. Social media has become a very common distraction. When teenagers become dependent on their social media, their productivity levels decrease. Many teenagers tend to neglect their school work. As social media is becoming so much more popular, students all over Canada, in various grades, spend an extensive amount of their time on social media, instead of using the time they have in their hands to work on homework or study for tests and quizzes. Furthermore, teenagers fail to take in part in their extra curricular activities due to the high usage of social media and the large amount of time they spend on them. It’s poorly understood how social media affects teenagers’ physical activity. Spending too much time on social media disrupts other worthwhile extra curricular activities such as going outdoors, playing sports, etc. Additionally, social media affects teenagers’ perceptions of friendship because of their highly interest in having large networks of online friends that they may never meet. This could lead to a decline in intimate friendships, because they connect and bond less with face-to-face communication. Finally, social media is a huge distraction that hurts productivity. This distraction hinders their ability to be actively involved in other aspects of their life.

The use of social media has grown rapidly, and has become very intensive in today’s society exclusively in teenagers’ lives. Despite the positive influences of social media, heavy usage can lead to worse mental health. For example, one study of teenagers indicates that social media usage can seriously disturb the quality and quantity of sleep. This study proves that teenagers struggle logging-off and going to sleep. Many may consciously wake up to check their social media during the night. For the development of the adolescent brain, sleep is essential. Getting the appropriate amount of sleep, has always correlated with good mental health. According to a study which was carried out in Canada, around two out of three 11-20 year-olds were getting less than the recommended amount of sleep. The study also found that nearly three quarters of teens spent at least an hour on the sites every day, which was enough to cause problems with sleep. Likewise, so called “active use” of social media has been linked to poor mental health. Active use refers to the practice of regularly posting pictures, videos, status updates, comments or posts. When doing so, a lot of teenagers filter reality with the purpose of seeking the approval and admiration of others. In psychology, this is known as searching for external validation. In addition, researches indicate the feeling compelled to portray a version of the ideal reality, known as “fun-filled life”, can psychologically cost a lot to a teenager’s life. It can be very damaging to a young person’s self-esteem if posts and photos receive few likes or comments. The whole process may lead young people to question their value to others, sometimes resulting in an unhealthy self-scrutiny of body image, physical appearance and general lifestyle. This can lead to self-doubt and self-loathing, which makes teenagers feel they have to conform to feel they belong. Conformity is the process in which individuals’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours are influenced by others. In this case, it would specifically be normative conformity, because they feel pressure to conform to the positive expectations of the ideal reality. Beyond any doubt, social media can become a high risk for youth’s health based on how they approach social media. As teenagers become passionately invested in networking sites, they will continue to experience pressure and anxiety at all times.

Many people consider social media having more of a beneficial purpose than being a consequence, but using social media becomes a huge problem in many teenagers’ lives., which is why it’s not beneficial to them. Social media sites are mostly used by teenagers on a daily basis, but are also a large part of today’s generation’s lifestyle. Teenagers being in front of their screens all day hasn’t only become displeasing, but overly risky. Unfortunately, for many adolescents it’s impossible to understand and experience life without social networking. Using social media to a high extent, can have harmful effects on teenagers such as; potentially being exposed to cyberbullying, negatively impact their mental health and well being, and their productivity levels being decreased. 

Media influences play a huge role in shaping teenage behaviour, perception of their own lives, as well as their social interactions. Social media would be a better place for teenagers if it initiated social change, positively affected social problems, as well as helped combat social ills that are considered normal patterns of behavior. Yet, social networking has largely failed in addressing and helping to solve social problems.  As teenagers open their Facebook page or scroll through their Twitter feed, what questions help guide them and shape their engagement with social issues?  Probably none. This is why Canadians should stay alert and keep an eye out for how social media is influencing our youths by guiding them, advising them, as well informing them on this huge concept of social networking.  

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