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Ria Mahajan
Professor Malcolm Campbell
English 1103
December 5, 2016
The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly Effects of Social Media
Itss a typical evening. After a long day at school, teenagers slouch on the couch and flip
open their laptops to spend a lot of time surfing through the internet or finishing up uncompleted
work from school. In this new technology filled world that we live in today, the rise in social
media websites is not surprising. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are just a few of the sites that
help keep us in contact with our loved ones and friends. Social media has its benefits, but in
teens it appears that the trend seems to be taking a turn for the worst. There have been encounters
in which technology has harmed students lives and normal interactions, shown through a decline
in school performance, face-to-face communication skills, and self-esteem. Although there have
been a few inventions to limit time spent on electronics, students continue to spend an exhausting
amount of time on social media. The excessive use of social media sites in teens can have a
negative effect on teenagers' physical and psychological health.
Social media refers to forms of electronic communication through which users create
online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other contentany form of
electronic communication through which people create online communities to share information,
ideas, or personal messages. It was first introduced to the world through newspapers beginning

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effectively in the 1700s and has continued to grow and be a part of everyday life through
television, radios, tablets, phones, and computers. Communication delivered through these
objects influence people widely and has grown to be a part of everyday life and decisions.
However, the newfound love for mobile devices with usage exceeding an hour a day, brought the
overall average time spent on major media to 693 minutes per day, reported Loftus who is a
study author at the research firm eMarketer. This amounts to over 12 hours of media time in one
day which is also close more to halfthan half of a day, outlining that social media is used
throughout the day and overused.
Scan around a restaurant and one will be surprised to find how many teens have their
heads down using their cell phones to text, tweet, or update their Facebook statuses. Because of
the addictive quality of social media, very few teenagers take substantial breaks from technology.
According to Professor Bennett from Brigham Young University, Too much time on the internet
can cause children to disengage from the society. It was predicted in 2015, by researchers from
Science Daily, that Americans would consume media for more than 1.7 trillion hours, an average
of approximately 15.5 hours per person per day. Because of this, teenagers are losing their ability
to cope in the social world. The amount of time spent on social media is excessive and causes
teens to actively avoid face-to-face interaction.
There are many opportunities for families to connect with distant relatives through the
useful medium of social media. Certain social media websites have allowed for communication
to go long distances which has a positive influence on interactions. Skype, for example, has
proven there are some advantages to social media to communicate overseas, but, the
communication devices negatively impact interactions with surrounding and immediate family.

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These findings open peoples eyes to the lack of communication within families because of the
massive time consumed communicating online rather than in households. Family time therefore
gets cut back once again to little or no time at all.
Time spent on social media has decreased family time for discussions and interactions.
The Few Los Angeles Times found that 63% of all teens say exchange text messages every day
with people in their lives, including their parents. Rather than face-to-face visits or talking on the
phone, the majority choice is to click away at a screen. Through the incredible invention of cell
phones, almost every teenager has chosen to text instead of having a nice conversation around
the dinner table.
Many believe that social media has brought families closer by allotting more time to
socialize and interact through certain apps and gadgets on tablets and computers. Based on the
findings done by Barna from the University of California, Los Angeles, social media has helped
to shorten the amount of time needed to work because of easy communication amongst peers.
Teenagers can now complete work more easily because of the efficiency of the technology that
they own. Although the workload is cut down, many teenagers still bring home massive amounts
of work to complete which is, once more, completed by using the internet and other devices. Due
to the work being completed at home, socialization is disregarded and therefore breaks
interaction once more. Media has heavily impacted interaction with others even in work
situations, and students need to find a balance between social interaction and work life.
The number of face-to-face interactions is not the only thing that has been negatively
impacted. The quality of these decreasing interactions are suffering as well. People are not
having these intimate conversations and personal interactions with each other anymore. People,

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instead, have turned to the Internet to take away some of the nervousness that some may find in
trying to start a relationship with another person. Social media is a driving force behind these
changes. These sites want people to use them as frequently as possible. When they see that they
could get more traffic from those people having interactions with their online resource, they
jump at the chance to take advantage of the situation. All of these sites use ad revenue to
generate a lot of their profit and thus, more traffic equates to higher net monetary gains. Susan
Tardanico, a communication professor at The University of Michigan, brings up an interesting
idea that people need a new golf course. What she means by this is that people need a new
place in business to conduct face-to-face communication. It used to be that business could be
discussed on a golf course, however, that has become vastly less practical than using an online
medium. She argues that these new sources of online social media have begun to ruin these
business relationships as well. People need to focus on getting into more personal relationships,
which will lead to more trusting and open connections in the future.
Not only does social media hurt the interaction between two individuals, it also harms the
way the brain develops. According to Dr. Erik Fransn, professor of computer science at
Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology, even a rather typical session of social media
browsing can lead to information overload and can make it harder to store away information in
your memory. Staying online for long periods of time leaves the brain with less time for
"housekeeping" and results in the brain not being able to clear the information clutter. When
teenagers are on a social media website, such as Facebook, they are making it harder to keep the
things that are online in their brain. In fact, when teens try to process sensory information like
speech or video, they will need to access the same system of working memory. This reduces the
working memory capacity and when teenagers try to store multiple bits of information, they get

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worse at processing information. Also, a study done at Stanford University found that brains of
teenagers who are constantly overwhelmed with several streams of electronic information, from
instant messaging to blogs, find it difficult to pay attention and switch from one job to another
efficiently. Dr. Anthony Wagner, psychology professor at Stanford, found that when teens are in
situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or
emerging out of memory, they are not able to filter out what is not relevant to their current goal.
This failure to filter this information means the individual is slowed down by irrelevant
information causing slow reaction times to decisions. This results in more time to complete an
action that should not take large amounts of time.
While social media may make it easier to connect with others, constantly viewing images
of others' vacation photos, personal achievements, and progress throughout the years can trigger
strong feelings of happiness, jealousy, and even sadness. Researchers have even described the
phenomenon as "Facebook depression. Facebook depression, according to the American
Academy of Pediatrics reports, may result if young users see status updates, wall posts, and
photos that make them feel unpopular. Social media sites may have greater psychosocial impact
on teens with low self-esteem or who are already otherwise troubled. Media Marry Release, a
student at Pennsylvania State University, conducted a study which investigated the association
between a persons self-esteem and how much time he or she spent on maintaining his or her
profile, specifically what actions they performed to create their online persona. Those with lower
self-esteem cared more about what others had posted about them on Facebook and were more
likely to remove certain posts to ensure their profile remained a reflection of the image they
wanted to portray. Conversely, those with high self-esteem spend time creating their own profile,
adding pictures and information about themselves to show the world their ultimate persona.

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Lastly, sSocial media also poses many threats in todays society. It is accessible from any
computer, phone, tablet, or iPod with an internet connection. This means that it is easier for
children as young as eight or nine to connect to a social media site. This in turn exposes them to
nudity, swearing, and even worse; pedophiles and rapists. Rheana Murray of The New York
Daily News stated one in ten profiles are fake. This means that at least 10% or more of a childss
friends on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter could be pretending to be someone else. The Carly
Ryan Incident that happened in 2006 proves that the internet is a very dangerous platform for
teenagers. In 2006, Carly Ryan thought she had met her dream boyfriend online. His name was
Brandon Kane, an 18-year-old musician from Melbourne. Brandon was in fact fictitious and was
a guy named Gary Francis Newman who was a 50-year-old predator and pedophile. Carly fell in
love with Brandon during 18 months of online contact and phone calls and agreed to meet up
with him. There, Gary Newman bashed her, pushed her face into the sand which suffocated her,
and then then threw her into the water to drown. Social media faces todays teenagers with
countless dangers and should be used carefully and decisively.
Another major downside to social media is cyberbullying. Social media is one of the
foremost causes of cyberbullying in recent years. Teenagers that have become exposed to
repeated emotional distress are being affected a lot more than just online. Their schoolwork and
homework are not high on their list of priorities after they become a victim of cyberbullying.
They no longer put as much focus on what is happening and try to begin the repair process for
their online presence. These sorts of changes in the forming mind of school kids can lead to them
not wanting to interact with one another. They believe that if they go to school and try to make
friends with their peers, they will be judged in the same light that they were online. They want to
avoid bullying, but the internal need to remain active on social media makes it hard for them to

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stay offline to eliminate any chance of getting bullied. It becomes an issue when they rely on this
solely for their source of joy or accomplishment (Brown, 2013). This addiction can cause them to
fall into a cycle of only finding happiness from this source and when they see that some of their
friends have been accomplishing things in real life, it can lead to jealousy. These people that rely
on social media are the same people who will be running into issues later on when they figure
out that the skills and bad habits that they developed are non-transferable in the workforce. As a
result, they will never fully involve themselves with their peers and will lack the proper
communication skills necessary to function.
Lastly, all of these negative impacts from social media are only worsened by the
addiction caused by social media. This generation and the generations that follow have become
fixated with the use of social media. It has caused a very distinct generational gap between those
who have grown up with the use of social media, and those who were raised in a time when it
was not available. This addiction, in which teenagers and children are unable to remove
themselves from social media has started to become a detriment to their ability to function inside
of social groups. It is a source of procrastination for a lot of those teenagers that have become
accustomed to using social media for entertainment. During a study done with teenagers, they
were disconnected from social media for a brief period of time. Over this period, they described
feelings that are similar to drug or alcohol withdrawals such as cravings, anxiety, and jitters.
These forms of social media are so efficient at wasting users time due to the way that
information is delivered through constant status and photograph updates. This addiction can lead
to eventual depression and an increase in anxiety when the user is comparing their life to those of
their friends to which they are constantly being updated. The abuse of these mediums leads to
additional sources of stress that are leading factors for depression and anxiety (Drussell,2012).

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There are only a handful of technological devices that enable parents to limit the amount
of time children spend on electronics to reduce overconsumption. Perhaps, the best feature of
Free Time is the ability to set content based screen time limit. For example, one can be
provided with unlimited time to read books, while parents can restrict social media time to a predesignated time limit. As another option, parents can just restrict the total screen time. There are
ways to prevent teenagers and children from spending a great deal of time on their devices
through parental controls on tablets such as the Kindle Fire HD. These controls are able to limit
the time children spend with the media and promote time away, therefore, enabling children to
communicate with others. Sadly, there are no further devices that have been released containing
this advanced technology. The invention of the time control on the Kindle also proves that there
is no self-control when it comes to spending time on electronics.

SSocial media has quickly worked its way into the lives of teenagers to expand and
change their ways of living. It can be a great tool for keeping in touch with people but not
everyone uses it that way. Social media should be used temporarily to advance relations within
homes to keep alive a healthy communication pattern, increase brain activity, and create a safe
environment for everyone to share what they want. By raising awareness of these harmful
effects, teens should be able to take a step back from social media and realize how much control
it has over them.

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