When it comes to the dangers of social media, cyberbullying and sexual predators get the most attention. However, digital freedom has many more subtle or hidden dangers that are influencing a whole generation of teenagers as they grow into young adults.
With 89% of teenagers owning a smartphone and 70% using social media multiple times daily, these digital threats affect celebrities. Indeed, 38% of young people reported that social media has a negative impact on their self-esteem.
The Advantages Of Social Media
Teens can use social media to create online identities, communicate with others, and build social networks. These networks can provide valuable support to teens, particularly those who are excluded or have disabilities or chronic illnesses.
Teens use social media for entertainment as well as self-expression. Furthermore, the platforms can expose teenagers to current events, allow them to interact across geographic boundaries, and teach them about a variety of topics, including healthy behaviors. Teens may benefit from social media that is amusing or distracting, or that provides a meaningful connection to peers and a large social network.
Why Should You Be Concerned? Contextualizing Digital Freedom To Youth
Did you know that over 210 million people worldwide are addicted to social media and the internet? While you may wish to blame your adolescent for lacking self-control, it’s essential to understand what they’re up against. Thousands of Ph.D.-level researchers are working on social media platforms to determine what level of digital freedom is appropriate for the youth. The platform earns more money the more time your teen spends on social media.
Social Media’s Immediate Dangers
Here are some of the potential risks that your teen may face while using various social media channels:
1. Inappropriate, upsetting, or adult-themed content exposure
Of course, you don’t want your adolescent exposed to adult-themed or pornographic content. The danger of social media is that this material can be sent to your child by strangers or trusted sources. Even if your child’s social networking sites are restricted to known friends or their profiles are set to private, they may still be at risk.
2. Teenagers with dubious judgment
In teenagers, the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for good judgment) is still not fully developed. Poor judgment combined with easy access to a global audience can lead to some terrifying scenarios
3. Oversharing in inappropriate and dangerous ways
Even being emotionally vulnerable with the wrong person can have disastrous consequences for someone who suffers from low self-esteem or depression. We lose control of the information we share on the internet.
59% of US teens have been bullied or harassed online, with Instagram being the most popular platform for bullying. In addition, one in every five young people has skipped school due to cyberbullying. Cyberbullying has been linked to teen depression and can even lead to increased vulnerability and depression later in life.
5. Constantly comparing their relationships to all the “ideal” relationships
Teens seeing online can lead to a distorted understanding of what relationships are supposed to be like. Relationships are messy, complicated, and often boring.
Social media can be beneficial. It allows your teen to stay in touch with friends while boosting self-esteem if used correctly. However, there are risks associated with social media. A certain level of digital freedom must be observed, which you should discuss with your child. Make sure that social media is a tool that your family uses, not one that your family uses.