Teens and Social Media
How and why they use it? How does it impact them?
Whats All The Hype About?
"The proportion of teens with Internet access has increased from 87% in 2004 to 95% in 2012, and the proportion of teens engaging in social media usage has increased from 55% in 2006 to 83% in 2012". - Pew Research Center
Tweet, Retweet, Favorite or comment. Interact with other Tweeters that range widely from your closest friends to your favorite, not so close, celebrities and athletes.
Share your life through your profile by uploading pictures, videos and posting statues updates. Find new friends or reconnect with old ones.
Capture and share the moments in life with the world with this photo sharing app. Cool filters too!
Currently the most popular form of social media among teens.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
Teens Use Social Media for 3 Main Reasons:
1) TO STAY CONNECTED
Teens use social media to keep in touch with friends and family when face-to-face interaction is not possible
Fake Internet Persona
- If persona is too different, it could damage already established interpersonal relationships.
2) gain acceptance
Social media has become an overly influential part of teenage social life and is often seen as a measure of popularity
- ex: Selfie Sunday, Hashtags, tagging, etc.
Social Media gives teens gain a sense of "social compensation" from receiving a high number of likes, comments or retweets on a post.
False sense of social compensation
Social media has become so engrained in the lives of teens that it can make a significant impact on self-image. The feeling teens get when they are portrayed as socially significant on a social media site is a false sense of social compensation because it is not actually worth anything.
It is unhealthy and could have negative psychological impacts for teens to gauge their perceptions of themselves, or self-worth, by how many friends you have on Facebook or how many followers and likes you get on Instagram.
3) Social exploration
For introverted teens, social media and networking sites are seen as an outlet environment that doesn't provoke social anxiety and is less stressful than offline social situations, such as high school
They to this by:
- Communicating in anonymous chatrooms
- Creating social media profiles based on different personalities
- Try to build anonymous relationships based of experimental personalities, otherwise known as "catfishing"
"Lonely adolescents are more likely to experiment with their identities online by leveraging the relative anonymity of the Internet to learn how to interact with people" - Hyunjin Seo
However, as this practice is also based around seeking false compensations and relationships, the gained experiences will be hard to translate into offline use.
- Because introverted teens have a greater need for social compensations than those just trying to gain a higher level of social acceptance, even though false, can still be beneficial for their growth.
Excessive use of social media and networking sites will eventually cause teens to fall into a comfort zone while interacting in cyberspace.
RISKS associated with social media use:
Teens often overindulge in the word "privacy" when it comes to internet use.
- Contradicting popular belief of teens, social media content is NOT private; No matter how many privacy settings are applied.
- IT staff, hackers and data collectors can gain access to any account along with the "private" information the user has provided.
- Posting information, such as the examples in the below graph, could lead to predators, stalkers, and identity thieves in the worst case.
Teens are at risk of addiction to various aspects of online social interaction such as:
- Freedom to behave inappropriately
- Virtual communities
- Becoming emotionally attached to online friends and other online activities
- Keeping a blog up-to-date
By using social media, teens put themselves at risk of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can occur in many different froms:
- Directly making rude or hurtful remarks to or about another user
- Posting embarrassing photos of another user
Teens will very rarely report cyberbullying because often times they are both victims and perpetrators.
- Cyberbullying is so easy to commit from behind the safety of a computer screen
Future of social media
With more digital natives being born every year, I believe that, along with the increased use of technology as a whole, social media use among teens is going to continue growing.
Social media and other social based technologies will continue to impact and change they way teens communicate, influencing their presence and role I society. Social media holds great importance to the teens of this generation and I don't expect that to change at all.