Social Media is well on its way to becoming essential in our daily lives. It is quite easy to say that the age of the internet has revolutionised the communication sector. Even 10-15 years ago, it wasn’t as massive as it is today. It is quite debatable to say we are more likely to put the internet after our fundamental human needs, which include food, shelter and clothing. Communicating around the world which took weeks, maybe months before, are now done within a matter of seconds, and it doesn’t cost a buck. Social Media services are now being used in colleges and schools, and many other places. The ease of accessibility has made it easier for new social developments to take place, and with the increase in options, many other negative factors are coming into the hand. Some of the factors may include cyberbullying, mental health disorder and even physical health are now a major concern. The social media and the internet can only grow bigger from now, and I would argue that the downsides outweigh that of the upsides if not properly managed. As it has become immensely easy to communicate and comment on other’s achievements and failure, cyberbullying has become a major concern for our society.
Anderson (2014) explains that is even worse than face to face bullying. Anderson (2014) also says that the cyber-bullying can lead to depressive behaviours and the thought of being powerless. The social media has no censorship of it; thus, anyone can say anything they prefer to. Another point to be made is that cyber-bullying is more persuasive, which means the ideas can be communicated through a wide range of platforms. Platforms may include via text, email, cell messages and many more. One of the aspects of cyber-bullying is weight-based bullying. This means the victim is bullied only because of the way he or she looks or presents himself or herself on the internet. As the bullying is presented to a wide range of bystanders, this could be a major self- esteem blower. It is reported that 53% of parents in India think that weight-based bullying is the most common of reasons, also research shows 53% of the active social media users have faced some sort of weight-based bullying (Anderson, 2014). Even though the comments made by the cyberbullies cannot be stopped and weight-based bullying cannot be put to a stop, bystanders have the ability to reduce the number of the victims by standing up against the bullies. Although the number of people standing up to bullies is low compared to the victims, it is a valid way to approach a cyber bully. In a way, it could make an individual feel helpless and may refuse to seek for help.
As social media has become the core method for the teenager to communicate with each other, it has become essential to maintain a fun approachable image over the internet. The moral conscience, sexuality, physical developments may be damaged due to the pressure of maintaining a character that may or may not be way different from that of their own (Deep, 2015). The platform has become very different to a medium compared to that of newspapers, films etc. This is because the sources cannot be traced back to the person, messages can be transferred whilst being anonymous. Thus, the ability to share or say something over somebody else’s expense has become much easier. Maintaining a body image could work out both ways, there isn’t a certainty to it, this could lead to some physical effects too. This may include intense and unhealthy diet or inactivity. As a result, it could pose harm to the developing body of a young individual, which in turn may lead to consequences in the long run. The ability to reach for help and to share positive ideas has also become far easier than it was before. Anyone could come up with a scheme and make a fan base or community to support him or her. This could lead to a more diverse interracial community sharing the same thought process. However, this is not always good. A person with a negative thought or an idea that could affect the society has just as many chances of building a community in the social media world as the one with a positive. They now have the ability to stay in touch in real time and attract those with the same morals, and they could do this without any real expenses.
About 72% of the students at the Columbia University based in Manhatten, believed in the links that were shared by their friends (“Misinformation on social media: Can technology save us?”, 2018). This shows how fake news can be shared at ease through this medium, which as an outcome may affect the decisions made by the society. Although the internet itself isn’t harmful, social media perspective may be unhealthy if it is consumed too much. As children nowadays are growing up with the availability of the social media, chances do exist that might affect his or her self-esteem, body preference, ideas, etc. The excessive use of it even has consequences such as suicidal behaviour. Thus, this topic is not one to be tickled with. There should be boundaries, and age limits to when a young individual should have the right to be one social media, and we all should acknowledge that social isn’t as fun as it is perceived.
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