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

Comments

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    • profile image

      karrisyn hackney 

      4 hours ago

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

    • profile image

      Air raid 

      4 days ago

      Great, I'm liking this site

    • profile image

      LJ 

      6 days ago

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

    • profile image

      bradley joyce 

      7 days ago

      i hit children on a daily

    • profile image

      Nand Kishore 

      10 days 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 

      13 days ago

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

    • profile image

      Vansh 

      3 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      Faique 

      8 weeks ago

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      ayshamasu 

      2 months ago

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    • profile image

      mouni 

      2 months ago

      thank you so much...

    • profile image

      Rajeswari 

      2 months ago

      I think for people it's the life

    • profile image

      josh 

      3 months ago

      it help me so much wow!

    • profile image

      Avin 

      3 months ago

      Thank you. Very good article

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      3 months ago

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      Saniya£ 

      3 months ago

      It is very useful

    • profile image

      saroj 

      3 months ago

      very good analysis

    • profile image

      Scott 

      4 months ago

      There my orals done lol

    • profile image

      angelina 

      4 months ago

      very useful !

    • profile image

      Sommy Jane 

      4 months ago

      This was very useful

    • profile image

      jnjkb 

      5 months ago

      meh its a good thing

    • profile image

      Need assistance 

      5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      dfghjkl 

      5 months ago

      very helpfull

    • profile image

      jyothish 

      5 months ago

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    • profile image

      hark 

      5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      tyron 

      5 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 

      5 months ago

      I enjoyed thuid article

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Bats Rodz 

      6 months ago

      Incredible

    • profile image

      Priyam Devasia 

      6 months ago

      It is very very super

    • profile image

      abdul jelil 

      6 months ago

      thanks i really appreciate

    • profile image

      llol 

      6 months ago

      Thanks this really helped

    • profile image

      zakir 

      7 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 

      7 months ago

      very formal love it.

    • profile image

      8 months ago

      This article really helps for my reaserch thankyou author :)

    • profile image

      8 months ago

      marv was here

    • profile image

      Me 

      9 months ago

      Old content i dont like that

    • profile image

      Loof 

      9 months ago

      Old information

    • profile image

      Fhg 

      9 months ago

      Not that nice

    • profile image

      Anania@lism.com 

      10 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 

      11 months ago

      NOICE MON

    • profile image

      Rohit Raj Mishra 

      11 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 

      11 months ago

      great great u deserve to be kissed bhenchood good good dalay

    • profile image

      william incledon 

      11 months ago

      i think its got very funny memes memes memes memes memes good info R the take all the time you took hugs and kisses thank you goodbye

    • profile image

      yournan 

      11 months ago

      good imfo

    • profile image

      Sena 

      12 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Glad that 

      13 months ago

      R the take all the time you took

    • profile image

      Aadi 

      13 months ago

      It's very good but not excellent

    • profile image

      Kela Babu 

      13 months ago

      Nice...

    • profile image

      Ms noyers 8th grade english class whitehill 

      13 months ago

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

      Bruh if u from white hill or even from the bay area dm me sayin that u saw this. ok thot

    • profile image

      rad rizzle 

      13 months ago

      this is quality.

    • profile image

      Rehan Raj 

      14 months ago

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

      And I need job. Plz helps me.

    • profile image

      Jhonñy Çriz 

      14 months ago

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

    • profile image

      balram 

      14 months ago

      Very nice thoughts on this

    • profile image

      Some guy. 

      14 months ago

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

    • profile image

      poo 

      14 months ago

      lmao

    • profile image

      fathima 

      15 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Rachit pandey 

      15 months ago

      Very nice writing of effects of social media on youth

      THankU

    • profile image

      Mujtaba 

      15 months 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 

      16 months 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 

      17 months 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 

      18 months ago

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

    • profile image

      shardhanay 

      19 months 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 

      19 months ago

      social media is bad

    • profile image

      Midpoint look 1 

      19 months 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 

      20 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Glad 

      20 months ago

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

      about social media impact to everyone.

    • profile image

      hey 

      20 months ago

      social media is great

    • profile image

      pepe 

      20 months ago

      Good article i wish you luck josh

    • profile image

      josh 

      20 months 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 

      21 months ago

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

    • profile image

      afica 

      21 months ago

      this article reminds me of my houses

    • profile image

      MomSecure 

      21 months 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 

      21 months ago

      this article is very useful

    • profile image

      jasmine 

      21 months ago

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

    • profile image

      wot 

      21 months ago

      this comment section is cancerous

    • profile image

      wigger 

      21 months ago

      lmao

    • profile image

      blackcanary 

      22 months ago

      and so are you

    • profile image

      vs3 

      22 months ago

      its very bad i dont like this article

    • profile image

      lololololol 

      22 months ago

      this post is stupid

    • profile image

      Riekie 

      22 months ago

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

    • profile image

      ju 

      22 months ago

      true dat

      dud

    • profile image

      kalaiselvan 

      22 months ago

      Thank you for sharing information

    • profile image

      Girly 

      22 months ago

      here.. All r crazyyyy people

    • profile image

      tamanna 

      23 months ago

      Thanks for your help to know about social media

    • profile image

      Velma 

      23 months ago

      Very good content.l wish people had brains to understand this.

    • profile image

      astudent at hms cuz i can 

      23 months ago

      this is a project against my own will. sos

    • profile image

      teonna brooks 

      23 months ago

      i agree with this blog comment regarding social-media effecting our education. Me being a student that utilize social-media I've noticed that social-media sometimes are a distraction, from work, and family members. some students tend to use social-media for cheating as mentioned; for example, when a student neglects to complete their work it can be used for cheating. This can also be a pro rather than a con situation. i sometimes use social media for collecting notes. on the other hand social media can be a distraction because students tend to talk about social media through class time . this can lead to GPA dropping (as stated) and also plagiarism.

    • profile image

      Nisha 

      23 months ago

      Social networking is very bad things for the new generation it affect the life of your youth with the youth may spend more and more time in social networking which have their studies as well as their extra curricular activities

    • profile image

      BaconMuffin 

      24 months ago

      chicken bicken

    • profile image

      you make no sense 

      24 months ago

      There are typos everywhere

    • profile image

      Xxbrothergunns 

      24 months ago

      Let's take time to appreciate the guy who posted like 60,000 f's. The dude is clearly autistic.

    • profile image

      starflower 

      24 months ago

      all these comments are dumb to be honest

    • profile image

      jonastheboss 

      2 years ago

      lol cool Story

    • profile image

      abc 

      2 years ago

      Wow, these comments describe the Internet in a nutshell.

      Sad.

    • profile image

      haha 

      2 years ago

      waste of time

    • profile image

      ekua frozy 

      2 years ago

      i think we should all collaborate and use the social media wisely

      and should not stay long chatting with friends on these social media

      they portray bad effects to some people on the other hand

    • profile image

      Amber 

      2 years ago

      Where did you get the information from, the facts?

    • profile image

      Malaika 

      2 years ago

      Social media is a very good tool. You just need to be careful on what you're doing and make sure that you are safe too, that all.

    • profile image

      SV 

      2 years ago

      Good content

    • profile image

      Aarti pawar 

      2 years ago

      I think social media is very benificial for everyone if they use it carefully. Children should use social media in the age of 15-16.

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