How does the usage of media influence the adolescents of the 21st century?
when the youth of tomorrow confronts the reality of today only then can it move towards a future that is aligned with growth but the passivity of media is steering us in all directions. Adolescents are more prone to the ill effects of media as they are the most impressionable. To their young minds, the media is window to the world. But this every window brings about information and stressors that do not always have a positive impact(McHale et al 2009)
From body image issues to the fear of missing out, Facebook, Instagram , twitter , tumblr have always been dominated by the adolescent demographic. Once teenagers start getting exposed to all these ideas about things that are different from their immediate reality, their vision expands but sometimes the effects may be detrimental. It has been studied that almost 70 percent of adolescent population online is more vulnerable to depression and anxiety. This usually happens when young adults every where post a curated version of their lives that is meant to invoke a sense of envy amongst its viewers.
This penchant for a picture-perfect life has driven many adolescents towards harmful activities and had even provoked suicidal tendencies in some. Children all across the world have easier lives due to the internet and have access to so many facilities but the dark side of social media has claimed many healthy minds som0ly because they do not have the understanding to deal with complexity and superficial nature of online platforms.
When the line between actual reality and virtual reality is blurred, many teenagers will find themselves spending an unhealthy duration of time online where they keep scrolling through Instagram or twitter waiting for a dopamine hit and not comprehending the weariness sit causes. Their academic scores, overall health and sleeping patterns will also get severely affected due unhealthy amount of scrolling time. Increased propensity to use alcohol and drugs can also be noticed amongst teenagers who sue more social media (Saffer 2002)
Adolescents are meant to grow up in a dynamic environment where they connect with their peers and learn to form healthy interpersonal relationships, the influx of social networking sites propels them to be reclusive while conversing only via a screen. The loss of connection and the lack of any actual exchange can make us feel extremely lonely and unhappy (Kirsch , 2010)
Studies have shown that females in their teenage years are more prone to depression anxiety and eating disorders in their teenage years as the negative influence of social media and the mainstream standards of beauty propagated by the media can get to their minds and make them doubt themselves. The pre conceived notions of what’s beautiful rejects the unique individuality and beauty that each human possess.
The uniform decision of social media about what’s acceptable renders everything as obsolete. This is extremely harmful for young minds as they follow these social media trends blindly. (Marshal et al, 2004)
Cyber bullying depression, lack of authenticity, increased exposure to drugs and violence lack of supervision- all these effects can be extremely detrimental for the growth of an adolescents mind(Donnerstein et al , 1994). The life style changes and the complete over haul of the communication systems has made it impossible for person to escape the lure of social media but increasing amount of screen time cannot be healthy for young individuals who need to form their processes and ideas as they grow older. The media can be a good teacher but it cannot be the only teacher(Valkenburg, 2000)
The age of adolescence is extremely impressionable and youngsters can be easily distracted and misled if they are not provided with proper guidance. The internet can be used as a powerful tool when it comes to development of skills, but its is extremely important to understand that too much one thing can never be good.
Valkenburg, P. M. (2000). Media and youth consumerism. Journal of adolescent health, 27(2), 52-56.
Donnerstein, E., Slaby, R. G., & Eron, L. D. (1994). The mass media and youth aggression.
Kirsh, S. J. (2010). Media and youth: A developmental perspective. John Wiley & Sons.
Marshall, S. J., Biddle, S. J., Gorely, T., Cameron, N., & Murdey, I. (2004). Relationships between media use, body fatness and physical activity in children and youth: a meta-analysis. International journal of obesity, 28(10), 1238-1246.
Saffer, H. (2002). Alcohol advertising and youth. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Supplement, (14), 173-181.
McHale, S. M., Dotterer, A., & Kim, J. Y. (2009). An ecological perspective on the media and youth development. American Behavioral Scientist, 52(8), 1186-1203.
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