In the modern technological world today, the technological advancements are spreading around the world making it more global. The most significant example is the internet that has enormously changed the picture of our society by reducing the distances among people and making it easier to get varieties of information within no time. But the same technology has also developed dependency among the young race. The reliance of the people especially teens on the internet is notable. This dependence has so many social consequences which are impacting the teens on the long term basis. We might frame this hypothesis: Incarceration of bodies is unkind but of minds is cruel and the same thing is happening to the teens by the use of internet regularly along with severe dependency on the social media. The over-dependence on the internet and social media are impacting the teens more negatively despite having positive outcomes.
We need to reduce the internet and social media dependency to secure the future of the teens as they are the most valuable asset for the country. Accordingly, this paper will examine the social consequences and negative impacts of the internet, social media dependency, possible outcomes and suggested future outcomes and recommendations for the future to decrease the internet and social media addiction to secure the future of teens. Incarceration of bodies is unkind but of minds is cruel and the same thing is happening to the teens by the use of internet regularly along with severe dependency on the social media.
The social consequences and the negative impacts of the internet on the teens are alarming in the most societies of the world today. Teenagers and youngsters are the ones who are actively using the social network sites on the internet, and several studies showed that they regularly spend a considerable amount of time to the interaction with the world through the social media platforms (Ahn, 2011). The enormous amount of time daily on the internet makes the teenagers habitual of its use. The growth patterns of internet usage among the teenagers is increasing the internet abuse and impacting negatively on the academic performances of the teenagers. A study conducted in Turkey showed that the internet dependence is increasing the problems in the lives of teenagers including the issue of less tolerance, excessive use, and the negative feelings which are impacting on the academic performances negatively.
Moreover, the study showed that the internet abuse among the teenagers varies from gender to gender and teenagers are having disturbed patterns of their online behaviors (Gencer & Koc, 2012). It demonstrates that the female and male teenagers face different types of internet abuse which impacts on their online actions. The daily usage of the internet disturbed online behaviors and internet abuse makes the teenagers academic performance worse with the time. Furthermore, a study revealed that the technologies especially the internet revolutionized and influenced the lives of youngsters. It showed that the dependency of the teens on the internet is growing and teens use the internet daily for their virtual communities. The internet itself not a harm to anyone but its use makes it positive and contrary to the people. The social media platforms are the most used platforms among the 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 chances 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 students and teens were the users of the best social networking site Facebook among the total community of the site (Siddiqui & Singh, 2016). It shows that the total more than the half community of the social media site Facebook is the youngsters, teens, and students. The 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 their most time on the internet which negatively impacts to their physical health, mental health, academic performances and much more (Whang, Lee & Chang, 2004). Internet dependency also provides a way for the 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, etiquettes or obligations. A study showed that the internet dependency leads the teens to the internet addiction that they cannot image 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 internet.
This kind of excessive reliance can only be established after the passage of 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 the teen’s internet addiction makes them a victim of abuse and they had to suffer from several social and mental problems due to the violations online. The internet usage and spending more time on it makes the teens addicted towards 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” that specific situation in 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 the 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 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 facility of 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 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 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 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, and 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 the increased number of different problems for its users. People with simple brains and no marketing strategies 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 the particular users. One negative experience involving any form of internet abuse can scare an individual for the entire life. If a person suffers any damage, then he/she will think thousand times before using the 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 variety of beneficial facts. The same website provides a home for excellent sources of information and general knowledge. It is just the matter of appropriate usage, methods, and strategies.
The harmful and abusive use of the vast facility of internet and social media has led to the development of various kinds of mental, physical and social disorders and abnormalities in the 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 internet can lead to physical impairment and possible cutoff from the 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 in using the X-box rather than playing basketball outside. The same person can talk to new odd people for over 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, researchers 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 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 from 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 internet; the only need is to make teens realize that the user should be proper and within limits.
Ahn, J. (2011). The Effect of Social Network Sites on Adolescents’ Social and Academic Development: Current Theories and Controversies. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(8):1435–1445. DOI: 10.1002/asi
Gencer, S. L., & Koc, M. (2012). Internet Abuse among Teenagers and Its Relations to Internet Usage Patterns and Demographics. Educational Technology & Society, 15(2). 25–36.
Siddiqui, S., & Singh, T. (2016). Social Media its Impact with Positive and Negative Aspects. International Journal of Computer Applications Technology and Research, 5(2), 71 – 75.
Sun, S., Rubin, A. M., & Haridakis, P. M. (2008). The Role of Motivation and Media Involvement in Explaining Internet Dependency. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 52(3): pp. 408-431. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0883815080220559
Whang, L. S., Lee, S., & Chang. G. (2004). Internet Over-Users’ Psychological Profiles: A Behavior Sampling Analysis on Internet Addiction. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 6(2): pp. 143-150. https://doi.org/10.1089/109493103321640338
Khurana, N. (2015). The Impact of Social Networking Sites on the Youth. Mass Communication & Journalism. doi: 10.4172/2165-7912.1000285
Song, I., Larose, R., Eastin, M. S., & Lin, C. A. (2004). Internet Gratifications and Internet Addiction: On the Uses and Abuses of New Media. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7(4): pp. 384-394. https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2004.7.384
Mcmillian, S. J., & Morrion. M. (2006). A qualitative exploration of how the internet has become an integral part of young people’s lives. New Media & Society, 8(1): pp. 73-95. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444806059871
Valkenburg, P. M., and Jochen P. (2009). Social Consequences of the Internet for Adolescents. Current Directions In Psychological Science, 18 (1). 1-5. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2009.01595.x.
Valkenburg, Patti M., and Jochen Peter. “Adolescents’ Identity Experiments On The Internet.” Communication Research 35.2 (2008): 208-231. Web. 14 Oct, 2017.
Thackeray, R., Neiger, B. L., Hanson, C. L., & McKenzie, J. F. (2008). Enhancing Promotional Strategies Within Social Marketing Programs: Use of Web 2.0 Social Media. Health Promotion Practice, 9(4): pp. 338 – 343. DOI: 10.1177/1524839908325335
Wang, W. (2001). Internet dependency and psychosocial maturity among college students. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 55(6): pp. 919-938. https://doi.org/10.1006/ijhc.2001.0510