Ah, in the Empire of Social Media, there’s either a lot you miss out on if you aren’t ‘in’ on it, or a huge risk you’re taking if you enter it. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, and Instagram – you name it – they’re all the nucleus of our weaknesses or our guilty pleasures. There have been many theories as to how social networks affect teenagers, but what’s interesting is the opinion of how it affects teenagers from an actual teenager.
Tumblr is the famous blogging website with 144.6 million blogs and 65.9 billion posts. Tumblr, as stated, is a place where you can “Effortlessly share anything”, but is that a good thing? Among the millions of teenagers who use Tumblr, or any other social networking site, the ability to “effortlessly share anything” must come with some limits, for example, cyber-bullying – a worldwide form of bullying on the Internet.
Many websites nowadays offer today’s youth the entrance to entertainment and communication with others and the numbers have rapidly grown over recent years. In the early months of 2012, according to the Internet world statistics, there were 2,336 millions of beings online, and exactly a year later in early 2013, there has been an increase of about 410 million online users. Teenagers, who are completely vulnerable on the Internet, get hugely affected by things said about them on these social networks, but what keeps them coming back?
Oyinda, aged 14 mentions the positives about the social network Tumblr: "The great thing about Tumblr is that you get to be part of something massive, feel like you belong. You meet people with the same interests as you and you learn so much with regards to the environment and social issues. With everyone living in different places around the world it’s a great way to learn about different cultures. Also you get to see such beautiful things on Tumblr and read such amazing things."
However, when a teenager isolates themselves from society and, according to statistics, spend up to 31 hours a week upon a computer screen, they may get fooled by the media’s ‘expectations’ of a person, or be brainwashed into thinking what is the right or wrong thing to do in life. The negative side of social networking has a huge impact on young adults. People tend to say negative things online, or post things in the spur of the moment, and the problem with that is that even if you delete your account five minutes later, it’s still stored on the Internet; people can still see it and start to gossip.
Oyinda, aged 14 mentions the negatives about the social network Tumblr: "The negative thing about Tumblr is that sometimes people tend to romanticize things that shouldn’t be romanticized. Occasionally, people make serious mental-health issues like self-harm seem beautiful when it isn’t. The problem is that people start to get the wrong idea of mental illness or body image. Tumblr is a form [of] media, and [the] media tend to portray perfect bodies of beautiful women. I think it warps people’s minds into thinking that they have to look this way in order to be seen as attractive."
Social media sometimes glorifies sadness and illustrates the type of bodies’ girls and boys should have. It definitely decomposes the confidence in adolescents and really demoralizes them. I think that, among all of its interesting, entertaining and partly-educational charms, it is very thought provoking and scarily brainwashing, which leads to the question; “Are teenagers happier without social media?”
Pamela, aged 16: "I think it might be better without social networks; there are always people who try to bring you down; haters and people who’re judging you by everything. But I still think that we’re happier with social networks; just to talk to someone you didn’t see in a while, or people who moved away out of your city. It’s a way to talk to each other without travelling a lot."
So it seems social media/networking occupies a very special place in some teenagers hearts and seems to be a great way of exploring and experimenting. It does affect teens, greatly and badly, but they appear to observe and responsibly deal with the negative things they face.
~ article by Zoe Thompson.