Who doesn’t like social media, right? It is full of interesting things to do and you are sure to never get bored with it by your side. Plus, you stay connected with the people you know and all the stars you follow. The hours will pass by without you ever noticing it when you browse one social network to another. And for this, we are thankful for technology in brightening our days and giving more excitement in our lives.
However, this fascination with social media has now bordered into an obsession. It is no longer healthy to spend so much time of your day or night browsing social networks when there could have been other more productive things you can do with your time. It is especially bad for the youth who aren’t supposed to be exposed to explicit content that is everywhere on the web and spends all their time lounging around with their smartphones in hand when they should be cracking their books or learning an important life skill like folding clothes, cooking or even writing letters. Even their grammar and spelling is all wrong now as digital lingo and abbreviations made them too lazy to structure their phrases and sentences right.
GAM: Why do girls, in particular, get so caught up in these dangerous social media habits and thought patterns?
SZ: Being a teenager is a time to try on new roles, to experiment with new identities. Social media gives the perfect outlet to do that. I know some middle school girls who have three or even four profiles. Each one highlights a different aspect of themselves: the dancer, the singer or the comedian. Integrating all of those different components can be hard to do and figuring out who “you” are can be hard to do.
Also, we know from brain development research that comparing yourself to other people naturally just goes up during the teenage years. It’s a result of how your brain is developing. All of that comparison can put you at risk for feeling bad about yourself if you see someone who you think is prettier, smarter, more talented and often skinnier or more fit. And social media will always have people like that who seem like they have it all together. It only shows the highlight reel of other people’s lives.
The threat of cyberbullying can also mess with a growing child’s mind. Bullies are everywhere and social media is not an exception. Imagine how embarrassing it would be to be harassed and bullied on social media, in plain sight of all your friends and everyone you know.
On Thursday, Marquette Police told BuzzFeed News that prosecutors had authorized charges against a 13-year-old girl who was engaged in social media communication with Benz prior to his attempted suicide.
The charges included “Malicious use and Computer-Using to Commit a Crime” police said. They did not name Benz or the individual who was charged because of their juvenile status. Police also did not provide details or comment directly on Goss’s allegations.
Goss’s told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that she was grateful for the “national awareness” her son’s story was getting.
“Social media pranking needs to be taken very, very seriously,” Goss said. “My son’s life will be cherished and forever honored by myself and my sons.”
Lives have been lost because of cyber bullying or of social media pranks that have gone wrong. Even risky and deadly stunts like taking selfies in the most unlikely of places have claimed many casualties. If you look at it like that, social media is indeed responsible for the death of these people but it is actually the misuse and abuse of social networks that led to this addiction and deaths.
Kids need proper guidance in the use of social media so they learn to discern what is right from wrong in a world where morals are getting twisted to make it fit our modern lifestyle. Regardless of the benefits offered by social media, the best way to help kids navigate this mysterious and sometimes dangerous social channel is to limit their use and exposure so they are less likely to be persuaded to do crazy stunts for a few thumbs-ups, hearts or shares. There is more to life at this young age and that is what kids should actually engage in instead of being glued to their smart screens. You can never go back to your youth once it passes you by, so make sure the youth these days actually live their life for real and not in a make-believe, virtual world we all obsess in.