In the modern and global world today, technological advancements are consistently changing and revolutionizing the world. Technological advancements are the ones that reduce the distances between people. People are using technological devices to make their tasks easier. Among the great technological advancements, social media is the one that is greatly popular and famous around the globe. Social media is a powerful technology that is designed to make it easier for people to share information, ideas, concepts, career interests, knowledge, and several other types of expressions that are important to share with the world. Social media makes it easier for people to share their current stories, and information and make new friends through the platform of virtual communities and virtual networks around the world. Social media is an online platform, and people use it through the internet. Now in the most developed nations in the world today, numerous people are consistent users of social media and changing the ways of their lives. Now it is effortless to scroll down mobile screen with the latest and most global information that is important or worth knowing. With the influence of social media, now it is effortless to stay in touch with family and friends. There are several platforms of social media including Snap Chat, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Social media is impacting the lives of people positively and making it easier for them to stay connected with the world. But it has several disadvantages that cannot be neglected due to its negative impacts on people, especially teens. The reliance of people especially teens on the internet is notable. This dependence has so many social consequences which are impacting the teens on a long-term basis. Incarceration of bodies is unkind but of minds is cruel and the same thing is happening to teens by the use of the internet regularly along with severe dependency on social media.
The over-dependence on the internet and social media is impacting teens more negatively despite having positive outcomes. The social consequences and the negative impacts of the internet on teens are alarming in most societies of the world today. Teenagers and youngsters are the ones who are actively using social network sites on the internet, and several studies showed that they regularly spend a considerable amount of time interacting with the world through social media platforms (Ahn, 2011). The enormous amount of time daily on the internet makes teenagers habitual of its use. The growth patterns of internet usage among teenagers is increasing internet abuse and impacting negatively on the academic performances of teenagers. A study conducted in Turkey showed that internet dependence is increasing the problems in the lives of teenagers including the issue of less tolerance, excessive use, and negative feelings which are impacting academic performances negatively. Moreover, the study showed that internet abuse among teenagers varies from gender to gender, and teenagers are having disturbed patterns of their online behaviors (Gencer & Koc, 2012). It demonstrates that female and male teenagers face different types of internet abuse which impacts their online actions. The daily usage of the internet disturbed online behaviors and internet abuse makes the teenager’s academic performance worse with time. The technologies especially the internet revolutionized and influenced the lives of youngsters. It showed that the dependency of teens on the internet is growing and teens use the internet daily for their virtual communities. The internet itself is not a harm to anyone but its use makes it positive and contrary to the people. Social media platforms are the most used platforms among teenagers these days due to a high level of internet dependency. Social media changed the lives of youngsters as now they could have the opportunity to connect with the whole world and make friends from all over the world. In the past, this opportunity was only related to the schools and colleges where youngsters had the chance to make friends. But now due to the internet and social media websites youngsters and teens are connected to the world through instant messaging apps and websites. According to the news of BBC, in 2013 more than 65 percent of students and teens were users of the best social networking site Facebook among the total community the site (Siddiqui & Singh, 2016). It shows that the total more than the half community of the social media site Facebook is youngsters, teens, and students. Internet dependency includes the factor that the users are connected to the world through social media platforms. These platforms provide several opportunities to the students to share their life events, daily life activities, and personal stuff online. It makes the teens able to connect to the global media every time which increases the rate of internet dependency (Sun, Rubin & Haridakis, 2008).
Due to the high rate of internet dependency students, teens and youngsters spend the most time on the internet which negatively impacts their physical health, mental health, academic performance, and much more (Whang, Lee & Chang, 2004). Internet dependency also provides a way for teens to become a victim of internet abuse. Abuse, though misunderstood as it can only happen in physical or mental terms, can be of any type because it is just misuse of anything, any relation, any facility, or accessory. Internet abuse involves a list of actions and habits that are not included in the regular or usual set of behaviors, etiquette, or obligations. A study showed that internet dependency leads teens to internet addiction that they cannot imagine or bear their lives without the internet (Khurana, 2015). Now an average person can think of the height of dependency that is developed in a teen that has successively made him/her unable to consider his/her life without the internet. This kind of excessive reliance can only be established after the passage of a particular stage of habitualness. It is when an individual spends so much time on a specific social media website that it becomes an essential part of his/her lifestyle and thus becomes almost impossible to be skipped or leave. Moreover, the study revealed that teens’ internet addiction makes them a victim of abuse and they had to suffer from several social and mental problems due to the violations online. Internet usage and spending more time on it make teens addicted to the usage of the internet. They can’t consider their lives without the internet. It leads to several adverse outcomes in the lives of teens. It is evidence that extremism, in any case, is unacceptable and leads to various kinds of difficulties and complications in one’s life. If an individual is obsessive or addicted to anything, he/she will feel incomplete, meaningless, and strange in the absence of that particular thing. Moreover, it is not hard to consider a “social media website” a specific situation in the case of people of the modern period. Teens and young adults of our age have made the social media network a complete obsession and are unable to spend their life routine in the absence of these sites (Song, Larose, Eastin & Lin, 2004). It sounds weird at first, but now it is one of the healthy and natural ways to get proper concepts. People now consider entirely social networking an essential part of their lives. At some level, it is true that social media networking has made the life of a human being much more comfortable and more straightforward. But at the same time, it has also produced dozens of complicated difficulties because of its misuse. It is true that the proper use of any scientific technology does not intend or plan to bring any negative side-effect to the life of its user. But misuse, overuse, and over-reliance are the factors that tend to produce negative and unwanted consequences in one’s life. The critical thing to realize is that the use of anything is not the factor that creates problems and brings adverse impacts to the surface. It is the ‘misuse or overuse’ of anything. The same case is with the utilization of scientific facilities of the internet. At present, everyone needs to stay updated, alert and informative as it is one of the biggest needs of survival. It is no longer a choice of a person to stay updated or ignorant. Everyone has to stay alert and informative about the world’s happenings because of their direct or indirect effect on one’s life. The problem is that not every one of us has the exact leisure time to receive information regarding our surroundings. Every one of us has a different amount and schedule of leisure time to spend on information and connection with the rest of the world. Now above the facility of telephone and television, the internet is the sole facility that can enable a person to connect with people and the surrounding world at any time of the day. The Internet surely has bundles of benefits; it is just that its overuse is bringing abnormalities and unbalance in the social world.
The critical thing to realize in our society is that social media websites and networking are facilities that are controlled by people (Mcmillian & Morrion, 2006). These are just facilities designed and developed to produce comfort and ease in the lives of people of the social world. It is not up to these services or amenities to decide how to be used. It is up to the user to use them either positively or negatively. The positive use of the same facility can lead to significant usefulness and useful results. Whereas the harmful use of the same service can lead to a considerable amount of mess, problems, and even more complicated difficulties. Let us take the most used social media networking site Facebook to explain this thinking. Facebook, a non-living, controllable thing is often labeled as a website capable of tackling and involving adults and teens in such a way that they cannot stay away from using it. If we see, it is not possible. Though it is true that such media sites are designed and developed by some great brains, they present a vast amount of attractive activities which are extremely hard to say no to. Still, it is unacceptable even to think that human willpower is unable to get over such tactics. These media websites have developed various kinds of games, quizzes, plays, guessing games and much more just to indulge more amount of people in their traps and earn more money. It has been done only for the sake of increased marketing and improved business. But it has produced an increased number of different problems for its users. People with simple brains and no marketing strategies or ideas get trapped in such games, plays, and quizzes and spend hours of their daily time in such activities. Moreover, in addition to these events, people also experience talking to strange and new people from all around the world. At some point, it is perfect and healthy if viewed from the point of increase in experience, knowledge, and world exposure. But it has also caused exponential growth in the mental, social and physical problems for particular users. One negative experience involving any form of internet abuse can scare an individual for their entire life. If a person suffers any damage, then he/she will think a thousand times before using social media websites again. However, if used correctly and within appropriate personal limitations, the same social media sites are of great use and beneficence. The same ‘Facebook’ can be used for useful information, factual knowledge, and a variety of beneficial facts. The same website provides a home for excellent sources of information and general knowledge. It is just a matter of appropriate usage, methods, and strategies. The harmful and abusive use of the vast facility of the internet and social media has led to the development of various kinds of mental, physical, and social disorders and abnormalities in teenagers. First, any internet abuse leads to the production or development of psychological stress, tension, and different kinds of defects (Valkenburg & Jochen, 2009). The overuse of the internet can lead to physical impairment and possible cutoff from real-life activities. An individual (teenager or young adult) who has indulged himself entirely in a socially imprisoned life will automatically feel unrelated and strange in a real-life world. He will feel more comfortable using the Xbox rather than playing basketball outside. The same person can talk to new odd people for over a series of hours but will face difficulty in talking to his parents for more than five minutes. All of this has happened and contributes to proven facts. Multiple numbers of events, research and data results authenticate the reality that social media usage has resulted in more damage than benefit. Teenagers who are the cream of our country as well as on a global scale have drowned themselves in the shallowness of social media websites (Valkenburg, Patti & Jochen, 2008). The severity of damage done by social media misuse can be estimated by the fact that people now prefer to believe the uncertain things they get to know through social media rather than experiencing the real world by themselves.
The misuse of social media sites has made people especially young adults more conservative, narrow, shallow and fearful. People, some time ago, preferred to experience and do adventures in their lives in young life by going to different new places, meeting new people and making new experiences. Now, adults and teens only prefer to sit inside their houses, watch TV, surf the internet and eat in bed (Thackeray, Neiger, Hanson & McKenzie, 2008). The overuse of social media has directly or indirectly wrecked our whole lifestyle and system as a society. Though a lot of damage has been done to the community that is increasingly difficult to cover it is still possible to cease the path leading to further damage and clean up the mess. For this purpose, it is essential for people to develop the right sense of appropriate use of social media and networking sites. People especially teens and young adults should realize the fact that they are the ones controlling the social media, not the social media is controlling them (Wang, 2001). This problem might look high above the stage of the solution but there is a solution of it, and it is still possible. The significant step to be taken is to make our young race realize the basic principle or concept of self-authority or self-importance. If a person gets to know his/her real strength, abilities, and disabilities, he/she is open or free to explore new aspects of life with great ease. If the growing part of the social world correctly realizes that they can control their increasing habit of over-reliance on the internet, the problem will be directly on the road to an ultimate solution. No one is saying to entirely quit the use of social media sites and general utilization of the internet; the only need is to make teens realize that the user should be proper and within limits.
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