Impact of Social Media on Youth

Written by Kareema Bibi and Sherzimah Akber

Impact of social media on youth is focused nowadays studies. In this Era world is progressing day by day, more inventions are becoming essential for human life. Networking is a compulsory thing to live in today’s world. For youth, networking is important for them to enhance their character, to be updated of their surroundings. The question arises how social media affects youth. As we know that good and evil go hand in hand in this world. Social media has negative as well as positive effects on young people.

Social media can help youth to find the right path to reach their destination and fulfill their goals. Through the platform of social media they have freedom to speak, share their views. Communication is getting easier, converting the whole world into a global village through social media. Let us take an example from our daily life. In 2020 when a disease was broken out named Covid-19 (Corona), everyone was isolated in their homes. People became prisons in their own homes, but through social media they were in contact with each other. Youth played an important role during that difficult time, by sharing precautions, building the morals of people, helping them in bringing groceries to their homes etc. At that time social media became a weapon for youth, its mouthpiece which speaks for them. The most important thing is that their studies were continued even in isolation through social networking. In general, social media is used as a tool through which people are connected with each other digitally. Through social networks people were able to know the things going on in the world. Social media includes, TV, internet, web browser, also includes websites like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter etc. Through which ones can communicate or interact with other people. Social media also provides a platform to youth for earning. Millions of people earn millions of dollars from their YouTube channels, TikTok, E-marketing, E-trading and other networked resources. The entertainment industry relies on social media users, the more users, the more profit and fame is given to a particular industry.

If we talk about Pakistan, (Hamza Latif mentioned in Youth Bulge: Demographic Dividend or Disaster) that currently, 64 percent of the Pakistani population is under 30 years, while 29 percent belongs to the 15 to 29 years age bracket. So, a huge percentage of people of Pakistan belongs to youth about all of those youngsters are taking advantage of social media as well as this huge amount is also suffering from cons of social media.

Major problems of using social media among youth are wasting time, health issues, being lazy etc. No doubt social media is helping youth to improve their knowledge in desired subjects. 59 percent of schools say social networking is used by students for educational purposes but the left says it is just used for wasting time. Students on social media do homework or research for 1-4 hours, streaming video for 1-2 hours, social networking for 1-2 hours, and playing online games for 1-2 hours. It means (average) if they are giving 2 hours to homework and another 4 to 5 hours to streaming videos, networking and playing games. It also made them physically inactive. The four hours they spend on social media if divided like 2 hours for playing outdoor games (which help him to be physically active) and another 2 hours for learning skills other than academia will make a student’s mind sharp and provide him with a strong personality. These skills may be helpful to him in the future.

Social media affects mental health badly. Most commonly, usage of social media concerns issues like anxiety, eating disorder, and depression etc. Sometimes depression can be strong enough that it leads people to suicide. Take a look at an incident that happened in 2016, through a web game named Blue Whale Challenge. The game contains a series of tasks given to the player by the controller of the game for a 50- day period. Initial challenge includes elements of self-harm and final challenge for player is to commit suicide. If any player refuses to play after entering the game the master planners do cyber bullying and online shaming which outraged the player to complete the task. That’s how social media also threatens human life. Social media can also harm one’s privacy. If someone’s account is hacked its data will be under the control of the hacker. Hackers can have a lot of purposes, maybe they wanted to blackmail the person for money or some personal reasons may leak all your data publicly or many more cyber crimes can also commit through social media.

Now let us discuss how we can make social media to be used in a better and safer way. The most important thing is awareness among youth, parents and guardians. The best time for youth to use social media is 2 hours per day. Parents should keep an eye on their children and what they are watching on social media. They should try that their son or daughter must watch some informative thing like a documentary, read news, articles and books which are realistic. The restriction of using mobile phones and internet for specific time must be applied on both parents and children. Parents should spend more time with their child so that they have a strong bond that their children can share their problems with rather than publishing it on social media like a post or story on Instagram and become more depressed after reading comments. It will also be helpful to assist youth to introduce a questioning session to them through social media and conclude it with a consulting reading paragraph. When humans make distance with screens its lifestyle will be changed automatically and focus will be shifted toward the aims and goals. Campaigns should provide training to the youth, parents and youngsters on the tricky usage of networks. Websites should work on taking actions against self-harm related posts.

In this Era, social media is becoming a master which is controlling youth. It is a critical phase for youth and youth is standing at the verge of devastation. No one will come to help youth; it is their responsibility to divert the direction of cons to pros. Make usage of the internet beneficial to them. They should be ready to face the challenges of social networking and protect themselves from damage.

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