What Are the Effects of Social Media on Youth?

Updated on October 12, 2015

Study Shows:

The average person now spends more time each day on their phone and computer than they do sleeping.

The statistics all tell the same story: Social media are gaining in popularity every day.

  • The average time spent on social networks per day: 1.72 hours (in 2015).
  • The average number of hours a teenager spends online per week: 27 (2015).

Social media have become prominent parts of life for many young people today. Most people engage with social media without stopping to think what the effects are on our lives, whether positive or negative. Are we as a society becoming more concerned with Facebook "friends" than we are with the people we interact with face-to-face in our daily lives? What will the longterm effects of today's social media use be?

There are many positive aspects, but there are equally as many dangers that come with the use of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google +, Tumblr, Instagram, gaming sites, and blogs. In order to make the right choices, we must dig in and research this topic thoroughly.

How Much Time Per Day Do You Spend On Social Media?

(Including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Gaming Sites, Blogs, etc.)

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Pros

How Social Media Benefit Youth

What are the positive aspects of engaging in social media?

The positives of social media:

Education:

  • Teachers are able to easily collaborate and communicate with students and one another.
  • Students have easy, free access to resources online to help them learn.
  • Grades improve and absenteeism is reduced.
  • 59% of student users report that they use social networking to discuss educational topics and 50% use the sites to talk about school assignments.

Politics:

  • Voter participation is increased. Facebook users said they are more likely to vote if they see that their online friends did. During the elections of 2010, users who visited Facebook more than once a day were 2.5 times more likely to attend a political rally or meeting and 43% more likely to say they will vote.
  • Social media facilitates political change: Online networks give social movements a quick, cheap method of disseminating information and mobilizing people.

Awareness/Being Informed:

  • 27.8% of Americans get their news online. (28.8% get it from newspapers and 18.8% from radio.)
  • Information spreads faster online than any other media. More than 50% learn about breaking news on social media.
  • Social networking provides academic research to everyone with online access, allowing people access to previously unavailable resources.
  • Social media sites inform and empower individuals to change themselves and their communities.

Social Benefits:

  • Social media allow people to communicate with friends and this increased online communication strengthens those relationships. 52% of online teens say social media have helped their friendships. 88% say being online helps them stay in touch with friends they don't see regularly.
  • People make new friends. 57% online teens report making new friends online.

Job Opportunities:

  • Great for professionals for marketing, connecting, and finding business opportunities.
  • Employers find employees and unemployed find work. 89% of job recruiters have hired via LinkedIn, 26% via Facebook, and 15% via Twitter.
  • Social media sites have created thousands of jobs and new avenues of income.

The Expectation of Fame and the Importance of Being "Liked"

Cons

How Social Media are Detrimental to Youth

What are the negative aspects of engaging in social media?

The negatives of social media:

A Detriment to Work and/or School:

  • Enables cheating on school assignments.
  • While grades did improve for light users, the grades of students who are heavy users of social media tend to suffer. One study shows that student users have an average GPA of 3.06 while non-users have an average GPA of 3.82.
  • For every 93 minutes over the average 106 minutes spent on Facebook daily, college students’ grades dropped .12 points.
  • Another study showed that students who went online while studying scored 20% lower on tests.
  • Possible negative effects on college admission: 35% of admissions officers scan prospective students' social media and report discovering information that affects their admissions decision.
  • Social networking sites harm employees' productivity. 51% of users aged 25-34 checked social media at work.
  • Using social media can harm employment and prospects. Job recruiters check a prospective employee's social media accounts, and things like profanity, poor spelling or grammar, racism, sexism, poor health, references to alcohol or drugs, and sexual and religious content can all count against you.

Lack of Privacy:

  • People, especially the young, are often too open and public with personal information when online. Most don't read privacy policies and may be unaware that their information may be used by third parties, like advertisers, insurance companies, and the IRS. 21% of teens believe it is safe and harmless to post personal information, including photos.
  • Exposure to corporate and governmental intrusions. The US Justice Department intercepts thousands of pieces of information from email and social networking activity per year.
  • The IRS trains agents to scan social media for information that can help them resolve taxpayer cases.
  • Insurance companies use information gleaned from social media, as well. If you have "liked" a medical-related page or a post about a health condition, that information is sometimes used by insurance companies to determine eligibility and raise rates.
  • Online advertising policies are an invasion of privacy. If you "like" a brand, you’re giving that company access to your personal information.

Users Vulnerable to Crime:

  • Social networking sites allow hate groups to recruit and distribute propaganda online.
  • Unauthorized sharing and copyright infringement threatens intellectual property and causes loss of income.
  • Security attacks such as hacking, identity theft, phishing scams, and viruses are common online. 68% of users share their real birth date, 63% share the name of their high school, 18% share their phone number, 12% share a pet's name: This information might be used in identity theft.
  • Criminals use social media to commit crimes. Robbers know when you're away from your home on vacation and stalkers get information about your whereabouts via social media.
  • Sexual predators find, stalk, and assault victims through social media.
  • Sexting (texting sexual content) can be a big problem. When teens post sexy photos or comments online, it can lead to criminal charges and child pornography. 88% of "private" sexual images posted to social media are stolen and publicly posted on porn sites without the subject's knowledge.
  • Security attacks such as hacking, identity theft, and viruses and exposure to phishing scams are common via social media.

Social Detriments:

  • Cyber-bullying (the use of electronic communication to bully someone, usually by sending intimidating or threatening messages) is commonplace online, causes emotional trauma, and sometimes even leads to suicide. 49.5% of students reported victimization by bullying online and 33.7% admitted to online bullying. A 2012 study found that at least 800,000 minors had been harassed on Facebook. Middle school children who experienced cyberbullying were almost twice as likely to try to kill themselves.
  • According to one report, 15% of adult users said that something that happened online caused a friendship to end. 12% of adult users said something that happened online caused a face-to-face argument, and for 3% of adults it turned into a physical confrontation.
  • Extensive online engagement is correlated with personality and brain disorders like poor social skills, ADHD, narcissistic tendencies, a need for instant gratification, and addictive behaviors and other emotional distress like depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
  • Less time for face-to-face interaction with loved ones. 47% of 18-34-year-old users reported using social media or texting during meals. 10% of people younger than 25 reported checking their phones and social media during sex.
  • Children at higher risk for depression, low self-esteem, and eating disorders and more prone to feeling isolated and disconnected (especially youth with disabilities).

Misinformation:

  • Enables the spread of false rumors and unreliable information: 49.1% of users have read false news on social media.
  • Encourages amateur medical advice and self-diagnosis of health problems, which can be dangerous and life-threatening.

Advertising:

  • Studies have shown that sites such as Facebook influence you, via advertisements, to spend more money.
  • Advertisers gain all kinds of personal information about you via your social media, information they use to persuade you to buy their product.

A Waste of Time:

  • When alerted to a new post or tweet, it takes about 20 to 25 minutes for the average user to return to their original task. 30% of the time it takes two hours for the user to return to their original task.

What Is Your Opinion About Social Media?

What Do You Think?

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The Bottom Line: Are Social Media Taking Over?

Paradoxically, social media sites can make us not only more capable but also more inept. We sometimes share too much with too many, and we have to be conscious of that. Overall, we have to be careful and caution when approaching these things.

In this day and age, we are pressured 10 different ways as far as our beliefs and opinions are concerned. Are having our own thoughts or are we so influenced by external phenomenon that we believe everything we see online?

In many cases it is clear that social media have become not only part of people’s lives but the things their lives revolve around. We see people checking smartphones every two minutes, looking for the latest tweet or status update. It’s important yet difficult to retain the attitude that these sites may be useful, but that's all they are—tools, not lifestyles.

Is Our Internet Culture Destroying Us?

Andrew Keen is well-known for his opposition to social networking. He believes that the Internet needs to be more "habitable" for users. He has some bold points that we need to take into consideration.

Status Updates Never Go Away

Even if you delete a post, it never goes away. Since Twitter began, the Library of Congress has been archiving all public tweets. Facebook was cited as a source of information in a third of all divorces filed in 2011.

References and Further Reading

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Juliet 

        2 weeks ago

        thanks for your awareness

      • profile image

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        2 months ago

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      • profile image

        Da boi vegetable 

        2 months ago

        Very informative my orals done now time for my test

      • profile image

        6969 

        2 months ago

        awesome

      • profile image

        0001 

        2 months ago

        Thank uu

      • profile image

        Anu 

        3 months ago

        This is very useful to me

      • profile image

        Zakaria 

        5 months ago

        What are the major health risks of Social media on young people?

      • profile image

        jahseh 

        7 months ago

        thx, this helped. :)

      • profile image

        Adah kashyap 

        7 months ago

        It should be suggested to all the people's who are mostly on fb,Twitter,insta,games,WhatsApp etc.....

        It should be taken carefully and it was an amazing article

        Thanks for the help

      • profile image

        Veda 

        8 months ago

        Thank you. It is very informative and helpful. I almost copied it to my assignment.

      • profile image

        Yash 

        8 months ago

        Fantastic article

      • profile image

        karthick 

        8 months ago

        it was informative

      • profile image

        Mel sky 

        9 months ago

        It is very informative

        It has giving me the exact information I need for my R.M.E project work.

      • profile image

        Lk 

        9 months ago

        Thank u its really useful

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        10 months ago

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      • profile image

        karrisynhackney 

        10 months ago

        this is great.

      • profile image

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        10 months ago

        I like this site because it helps tell you the things going on in the world that nobody notices.

      • profile image

        Air raid 

        10 months ago

        Great, I'm liking this site

      • profile image

        LJ 

        10 months ago

        This is really interesting. I was doing it for research and I am really glad I found this.

      • profile image

        bradley joyce 

        10 months ago

        i hit children on a daily

      • profile image

        Nand Kishore 

        10 months ago

        Thank you so much to provide data because I’m student of media & mass communication , finely I got what I wanted

      • profile image

        giselle 

        10 months ago

        I think that the social media is ruining our lives, my daughter gets hate comment

      • profile image

        Vansh 

        11 months ago

        It was easy to read in this way help me lot thanks

      • profile image

        Faique 

        12 months ago

        Good I like it

      • profile image

        ayshamasu 

        12 months ago

        we apppriciate

      • profile image

        mouni 

        12 months ago

        thank you so much...

      • profile image

        Rajeswari 

        13 months ago

        I think for people it's the life

      • profile image

        zion 

        13 months ago

        it was ok

      • profile image

        josh 

        13 months ago

        it help me so much wow!

      • profile image

        Avin 

        13 months ago

        Thank you. Very good article

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        13 months ago

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        13 months ago

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      • profile image

        saroj 

        13 months ago

        very good analysis

      • profile image

        Scott 

        14 months ago

        There my orals done lol

      • profile image

        angelina 

        14 months ago

        very useful !

      • profile image

        Sommy Jane 

        14 months ago

        This was very useful

      • profile image

        jnjkb 

        15 months ago

        meh its a good thing

      • profile image

        Need assistance 

        15 months ago

        can u provide an elaborations on social networking can affect the privacy of youth?

      • profile image

        dfghjkl 

        15 months ago

        very helpfull

      • profile image

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        15 months ago

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      • profile image

        hark 

        15 months ago

        this really helps me understand social media. thanks for the help

      • profile image

        tyron 

        16 months ago

        my dad left as a child this article has helped me find him in the comments section thanks again i love you dad

      • profile image

        tyron 

        16 months ago

        I enjoyed thuid article

        Thank you

      • profile image

        Bats Rodz 

        16 months ago

        Incredible

      • profile image

        Priyam Devasia 

        16 months ago

        It is very very super

      • profile image

        abdul jelil 

        16 months ago

        thanks i really appreciate

      • profile image

        llol 

        17 months ago

        Thanks this really helped

      • profile image

        zakir 

        18 months ago

        social media is useful ... if we use it in a limited time by not spending much time on it.i like this article it is useful for everyone some what old information but nice.

      • profile image

        Senip 

        18 months ago

        very formal love it.

      • profile image

        18 months ago

        This article really helps for my reaserch thankyou author :)

      • profile image

        19 months ago

        marv was here

      • profile image

        Me 

        19 months ago

        Old content i dont like that

      • profile image

        Loof 

        19 months ago

        Old information

      • profile image

        Fhg 

        20 months ago

        Not that nice

      • profile image

        Anania@lism.com 

        20 months ago

        The social media are very good and very useful in our lives, but how we use it,, is how much will affect our future destine. So what I would like to call the society is to use such network effectively so that our fu

      • profile image

        DIGIMON 

        21 months ago

        NOICE MON

      • profile image

        Rohit Raj Mishra 

        21 months ago

        Dear author, can you please explain me how social media has seperated youth from society? We can see the 21st century youths has built their own virtual society because of that they are getting far from real society.

      • profile image

        bhosdika bharwa randi ka bacha 

        21 months ago

        great great u deserve to be kissed bhenchood good good dalay

      • profile image

        william incledon 

        21 months ago

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      • profile image

        yournan 

        22 months ago

        good imfo

      • profile image

        Sena 

        22 months ago

        This is very good, it has a lot of information and I can understand clearly - thank you

      • profile image

        Glad that 

        23 months ago

        R the take all the time you took

      • profile image

        Aadi 

        23 months ago

        It's very good but not excellent

      • profile image

        Kela Babu 

        23 months ago

        Nice...

      • profile image

        Ms noyers 8th grade english class whitehill 

        23 months ago

        if any new students are looking here follow me @rad.reiley on instagram.

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      • profile image

        rad rizzle 

        23 months ago

        this is quality.

      • profile image

        Rehan Raj 

        2 years ago

        I am Rehan Raj , the social media marketing, is very interesting work

        And I need job. Plz helps me.

      • profile image

        Jhonñy Çriz 

        2 years ago

        Very informative.....bt..content is less

      • profile image

        balram 

        2 years ago

        Very nice thoughts on this

      • profile image

        Some guy. 

        2 years ago

        As I read the comments I saw a good point raised: it's mainly about the user.

      • profile image

        poo 

        2 years ago

        lmao

      • profile image

        fathima 

        2 years ago

        hi, i need more information about social media among teenagers its negative consequences of their life. help me please!

      • profile image

        Rachit pandey 

        2 years ago

        Very nice writing of effects of social media on youth

        THankU

      • profile image

        Mujtaba 

        2 years ago

        Hi sir l have a project about impact of social media on youth please help me

        This is my email

        Mujtabaaimaq.india@gmail.com

      • profile image

        jay marvin 

        2 years ago

        after reading this article, do you still use social media abuse in your life and implore it to every body specially students?

      • profile image

        Samuel Castaneda 

        2 years ago

        I'm interested and willing to hear more from you guys and to know the events links activities wait up calls fundraisers gatherings and more all in youths sake

      • profile image

        meme 

        2 years ago

        Now this is a story all about how my life got memed turned upside down

      • profile image

        shardhanay 

        2 years ago

        I have learnt a lot about social media...Social media plays a big role in our daily lives but it can be really dangerous. My point of view is don't post anything that can spoil or damage your reputation...

      • profile image

        Billyanjoe 

        2 years ago

        social media is bad

      • profile image

        Midpoint look 1 

        2 years ago

        Hi

        I designed a simple video that talks about social networking sites‏

        I hope you have a look at it and give me your opinion

        and if you like it I hope you share it

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRDykmyuS7k

      • profile image

        RHIA PIDENES 

        2 years ago

        I LEARN HOW TO CONTROL BY USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN YOUTH. BECAUSE I AM THE ONE THAT USING SOCIAL MEDIA

      • profile image

        Glad 

        2 years ago

        I love your point view i have a lot to learn!

        about social media impact to everyone.

      • profile image

        hey 

        2 years ago

        social media is great

      • profile image

        pepe 

        2 years ago

        Good article i wish you luck josh

      • profile image

        josh 

        2 years ago

        can you help me for my research subject guys? our research topic is The effect of excessive use of social media. I will answer the part of conceptual framework ( Paradigm ) Please help me. what will I do :(

      • profile image

        dab 

        2 years ago

        the videos attached on this video were very helpful you guys should watch them. HAVE A GOOD DAY!

      • profile image

        afica 

        2 years ago

        this article reminds me of my houses

      • profile image

        MomSecure 

        2 years ago

        Great article! Is social media changing or re-wiring our teens’ brains in the Digital Age?

        Social media has become an integral part of a teenager’s life. Teens aged between 13 to 18 years old spend 9 hours a day online, and 45 percent of teen users agree that social media is an important part of their lives. These “digital natives” are closely identified with technology and they cannot live without it. Today’s teens are living a hyper-connected life which may lead to online safety issues such as sexting or cyberbullying. These are just some of the risks teenagers are facing while they are online. https://momsecure.com/

      • profile image

        jasmine 

        2 years ago

        this article is very useful

      • profile image

        jasmine 

        2 years ago

        this article is boring yet useful because of my project in school

      • profile image

        wot 

        2 years ago

        this comment section is cancerous

      • profile image

        wigger 

        2 years ago

        lmao

      • profile image

        blackcanary 

        2 years ago

        and so are you

      • profile image

        vs3 

        2 years ago

        its very bad i dont like this article

      • profile image

        lololololol 

        2 years ago

        this post is stupid

      • profile image

        Riekie 

        2 years ago

        This is very scary information, and sad that everything have to change like this

      • profile image

        ju 

        2 years ago

        true dat

        dud

      • profile image

        kalaiselvan 

        2 years ago

        Thank you for sharing information

      • profile image

        Girly 

        2 years ago

        here.. All r crazyyyy people

      • profile image

        tamanna 

        2 years ago

        Thanks for your help to know about social media

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