“Gives a voice and a platform to anyone who is willing to engage” –Amy Jo Martin
Social Media is a huge part of our everyday lives. Today it takes up a good majority of our time every day. It is the main thing we are constantly looking at on our cellphones. We are always looking to see what other people are doing, and constantly showing people what we are doing. It has become so important for us to share our everyday lives on social media for everyone to see and comment on. Today, you can’t walk down ped-walkway without almost running into someone who couldn’t look up for one second from their iPhone. It’s an obsession, and the advances in technology today allow us to constantly have this access to technology with social media 24/7. In particular, social media has allowed new relationships to form, new inventions, people to communicate from across the world, and much more. Social media is also a big part in politics, business and socialization (Ta).
Social media for politics have helped many campaigns, and have “inspired mass movements and political unrest in many countries” (Ta). Many businesses today also use social media to benefit their company. “Interactions and feedback from customers help businesses to understand the market, and fine-tune their products and strategies” (Ta). Apart from the business and politics part of social media, “Social networks offer the opportunity for people to re-connect with their old friends and acquaintances, make new friends, trade ideas, share content and pictures, and many other activities” (Ta). These things are what make people constantly interested and active on social media. While older generations look at social media for business and politics, social media means something different to kids. Kids ranging from 8-18. Social Media today to millennial’s means Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and many others. It has become very prevalent to constantly post what you are doing 24/7 online for other people to look at. Being part of this generation I have first-hand experience with these sites and how we all use them. I myself use them every day and have been guilty of running into people on ped-walkway because I was looking at my phone and not paying attention. The thought of knowing what your friends are doing constantly just by looking at your phone has become so intriguing to our generation that we cannot be in the moment and not look at our phones. Nowadays, kids of all ages have iPhone’s and have access to all things online at their fingertips. These kids in middle school and younger are exposed to these social media sites at such a young age and was something some of us never had growing up. Kids of younger ages have access to all kinds of social media and access to so many sites and sometimes aren’t smart about some of the things they do or say online. Robert Keating says, “92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly”. Most likely this refers to going onto sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat for this age group. According to Kelly Wallace, “On any given day, teens in the United States spend about nine hours using media for their enjoyment, according to the report by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on helping children, parents and educators navigate the world of media and technology”. We are so used to this digital media technological world and it’s only going to get even bigger and more advanced as we get older.
This freedom to say whatever we want on these sites has led to issues such as cyber bullying, cyber stalking and sexual predation. These issues have been common in all grade schools for many years, especially cyber-bullying. “15% of students admitted to cyber-bullying others in their lifetime” (Patchin). These sites have allowed kids of all ages to say whatever they want online because nothing is face to face which makes it easier to say things you maybe would never say in person. It is also “difficult to portray tone and intent when something is written in words” (Pappas). “Victimization of young people online has received an increasing level of scrutiny, particularly after a series of high-profile suicides of teenagers who were reportedly bullied on various social networks” (Pappas). There are so many good things that can come of social media, and the fact that some people use it to hurt other people defeats the purpose of social media. People are becoming too comfortable behind their computer screens resulting in people getting hurt by things people say about them online. Because kids of all ages now are using social media so often part of the responsibility should fall on the parents to monitor what their kids have access to and how they are portraying themselves online. Often times the ones who are cyber-bullying may have issues at home, or self-esteem issues, which causes them to act out on others to make themselves feel better. Because this technology is so advanced nowadays, and because so many people have access to it we need to ensure that we are using it in an appropriate way, and not to intentionally hurt people. Like I said in the beginning, social media has led to new relationships, new inventions and allowed people from all over the world to communicate, so let’s not abuse our right to freedom of speech online and make social media a positive thing to look at every day.
Keating, Robert. “Demographic and psychosocial variables associated with good and bad perceptions of social media use.” Science Direct, vol. 57, 2015, pp. 93-98, Computers in Human Behavior, Helen M. Hendy, S. Hakan Can, 21 Dec. 2015. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563215302740
Pappas, Stephanie. “Cyberbullying on Social Media linked to Teen Depression.” Live Science, 22 June 2015. http://www.livescience.com/51294-cyberbullying-social-media-teen-depression.html
Patchin, Justin. “2015 Cyberbullying Data.” Cyberbullying research center, Oct. 10, 2016. http://cyberbullying.org/2015-data
Ta, Q. Jenny. “What impact has social media truly had on society.” Business 2 Community, 13 Aug. 2014. http://www.business2community.com/social-media/impact-social-media-truly-society-0974685#qA5lpoYeI8kCjquX.97
Wallace, Kelly. “Teens spend a mind-boggling 9 hours a day using media.” CNN, 3 Nov. 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/03/health/teens-tweens-media-screen-use-report/