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VOICE OF R A+ A- Print Email

In today's generation, teenagers tend to spend a large amount of time on social media.  In the United States of America, "8 to 18 years old…spend more than 7 and half hours using [social] media" (Rideout 11).  These children are exposed to so many dangers online.  Social media is spreading like a fire, and this sensation causes major impacts since we can access it any time.  Over the past 5 years, the use of social media has dramatically increased (Rideout 11).   The use of social media can lead to distractions and high obsession. 

We can no longer afford distractions caused by social media between teenagers and their education because we depend on them for a better future.  When it comes to our society, communication is a very important part of the human life.  However, social media has its own gains and losses.  The use of anything at an extreme can lead to negative impacts and social media is one such entity.  It is affecting teenagers more prominently than adults because the adult brain is fully developed.  While on the other hand, teenagers are still in a position of constantly developing brain and this high use of social media is wiring our brains accordingly which may lead to negative results, such as lack of in cognitive skills. According to “Over All Media Use,” "…11- to 14-year-old and 15- to 18-year-old groups [are] exposed to the most media: up to nearly 12 hours in a typical day" (Rideout 11).  This proves that students who should spend their time learning, concentrating, and focusing on their studies are leaning more towards the social media contents such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,  etc. Sam Croaker has straight A's but complains about low SAT scores and blames the internet as a distraction for his inability to finish either of his two summer reading books (Richtel). This disturbance is leading to poor scores and performance at school.  In the article of “Over All Media Use,” "Children who are heavy media users are more likely to report getting fair or poor grades (mostly C's or lower) than other children" (Rideout 13). This portrays the effects of social media on today’s young generation.  These young students lack good grades and focus they need in order to be successful at school because most of their time is spend on social media websites while procrastinating on their school work.  

Nowadays, students find their homework less exciting because of other joyful contents that they can find on social media.  Several studies have proved that young people tend to use computers for entertainment such as social media, but not learning which can hurt school performances (Richtel).  My friend Clara is one of those people, a former straight A student.  However, that changed during her 8th grade second semester when she got a Facebook account.  On a typical day, she spends about 8 hours on Facebook updating her statuses, pictures, commenting and talking to her friends.  She has lost her interest in school and track of keeping up with her work.  She prefers spending time on social media instead of studying like she use to.  In addition to that, her family life has also been distracted.  She does not go out or eat with her family like she did before.  She eats in front of her laptop while talking to her friends and updating her pages.  This explains that teenagers are becoming disoriented in their daily lives without even realizing where it may lead them.

When it comes to social media, the confusion lies between being passionate and obsessed.  The majority of the people take obsession and passion as one thing.  However, when you are passionate about something there is a less chance that your interest will diminish.  While on the other hand, obsession is where it occupies your mind and time.  Social media is not a passion, but obviously an obsession for most teenagers.  They can't stop checking their blogs, websites or tweets.  This obsession has taken a great portion of our lives, where the majority lies between the youth.  It has impacted their lives including relationships, time, family, and studies.  We feel that it is necessary to share or check our social media contents such as Facebook or Twitter.  It’s one of those times when we don't want social media but we need social media.  According to “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction,” "….[Social media] can create a culture in which students are addicted to the virtual world and lost in it" (Richtel).  In other words, social media is another world where people at young age develop a different society and live in it as a part of their daily life and losses the touch with actual world around them.  Vishal is a senior who is also obsessed with social media and its different contents.  His mother states that, "…he lacks the self-control to favor schoolwork over the computer" (Richtel).  Social media has occupied our minds so deeply that the concept of responsibility and organization has been diminished from our society.  These social butterflies tend to be heavy Facebook users.  One of the students from our early surveys also claims that, "Facebook is amazing because it feels like you're doing something and you're not doing anything.  It's the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified anyway" (Richtel).

 My friend Clara is the same way.  She believes that Facebook is the best way to keep up with everything.  She can spend 4 hours doing absolutely nothing on Facebook but scrolling down through her news feed.  Teenagers now use Facebook at night instead of sleeping. It's like a wire inside their brains that sparks every hour to inform them that it’s time to check their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  The obsession is at a point where we spend two to three hours on social media to get few seconds of work right.  If we give this time to our school, work, or family, it would definitely help reduce this obsession. 

On the other hand side, people claim that social media is an easy way to communicate and it provides great benefits.  According to “Teenage Social Media Butterfly May Not Be Such a Bad Idea,” "…participants who were better adjusted in their early teens were more likely to use social media in their early 20s, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity or their parents' income" (Healy).  Social media has its own place in our society.  However that does not mean we should over use it.  There may be some advantages of social media, but there are more disadvantages of this content that outweigh the benefits.  Teenagers who use social media more than they should become easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks which leads to poor skills of sustaining attention (Richtel).  The opposite side also states that young people who are the heaviest media users report spending similar amounts of time exercising or being physically active as other young people (Richtel). If someone is a heavy media user, they cannot have enough time or strength to be involved in physical activities because there brain needs rest in order function properly.  Others also believe that most children use social media in a constructive manner (Healy).  It may be possible when students are using social media contents in a limited time.  However, when social media becomes a major part of a student's life style, it begins to destroy them and their minds instead of constructing in any way. 

In conclusion, social media plays a major role in today’s world.  We can access it anytime and anywhere.  The use of social media has increased because of uncountable ways provided to teenagers.  It has impacted us in both ways, good and bad.  There are some advantages to it, but it is not a good idea to risk our youth.  The disadvantages lead to major problems, which completely dominate the benefits.  The contents of social media have become an obsession and can create distractions between students and their education.

Written by Areez Sadiki