According to the latest statistics, 22 percent of the world’s population is active on Facebook as of June 2017 and most of them are as obvious it is the youth. The figures also state that most all of our youth is involved with at least three social media platforms at a given time. This begs the question what is it about social media that attracts the youth? Although the questions have many answers, it boils down to the fact that most of the youth want popularity and acceptance among their peers.
Social media provides them a platform to create a parallel fake persona which helps them to accentuate and upgrade their real personalities. A virtual platform that helps them to show off through the help of images, videos and text, egged on by tools such as filters and image editors, is a great playground for ego, vanity and even trivial chit-chat that may even devolve into online bullying. We may want to pretend that social media works well for our youth, especially teenagers, but the net effect is mostly negative. For those in their mid to late twenties, the use of social media is most productive, but more or less like that of teenagers. As for our teenagers, it is a platform to boost and boast about your social capital and material possessions.
Feelings of inadequacy have been noted as the prime effect on the youth, mostly emanating from social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. According to research, Facebook mostly led to feelings of insecurity and being unaccomplished in young people, but mostly in those in their mid to late twenties, when they saw their former friends update their accounts with images from travels to exotic locations or having bought a new car or house. As for teenagers, Facebook was more of a popularity fest and less about material gains. Instagram, which is more of a visual-based social media platform, did the same, but more about lifestyle and health. The last few years have seen the rise of Instagram which has given stiff competition to Facebook regarding popularity. It is the unabashed field for showing off one’s fitness and lifestyle defining material possessions which have shown how far the youth is ready to go to gain popularity and peer acceptance.
Loss of focus and priorities can be said to be another effect of social media, especially for our teens and people in their early twenties. Anyone who lives and works in a large city or even a town must have seen gaggles of teenagers sitting around in public spaces, busy on their smartphones. It’s not the phones, but social media obsessed teenagers who have created hordes of retarded screen-zombies who likely do nothing productive but spend most of their time on social media. Although social media has many positives if we are to list them down, however, when the negatives weigh them down, the silver linings don’t do a lot to soothe our fears of its long-term effects. The solution? Parents, schools, public spaces can use firewalls and other such methods to block popular social media platforms on their networks.