With social media being a regular part of life for most, it can have a devastating impact on youth. Social media can cause depression, issues with body image, cyber bullying, sexting and a long-lasting digital footprint.
Being accepted by others can be hard enough for some adolescents. Adding social media into the mix can make it that much harder. Most people have hundreds of friends online, requiring much more from those seeking acceptance.
Depression caused by social media can influence people to become more isolated or socially inept. At such a crucial time in their lives, adolescents are much more susceptible to depression, which can be caused by a number of things online.
People on social media are introduced to a large number of advertisements each day. This can cause body image issues for both boys and girls. Seeing so many different advertisements full of models with the “perfect body” can make people feel less about themselves and their image.
Advertisements aren’t the only issue when it comes to body image on social media. Seeing friends get more likes for photos that show more skin, more muscles or that feature a more attractive person can have a lasting impact. It can cause people to think that they have look a certain way and change their body to be appreciated. They can think that if they are not as attractive as someone else, that nobody is going to like them. These body image issues can lead to things like eating disorders, self-harm, self-esteem problems and even suicide.
Cyber bullying is when someone is being harassed, just like regular bullying, but online. This happens quite often on social media because it makes it much easier for bullies to have the confidence to act a certain way online than it is in person.
Sometimes, cyber bullying can be easy for its victims to ignore. It is easy to block someone or to simply turn off the phone or computer. Although cyber bullying may not be as impactful as it would be if it were done in person, it still can have lasting consequences. It can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide.
Sexting is when people communicate via texting, emails or online chat in a sexual nature. This is becoming more and more popular with youth because it is easy to hide from their parents and others.
Sexting can have lasting consequences. Once a nude photo or video is sent, there is a good chance that it will be online for good. It is very hard for someone to take back what he or she put online. Sexting can leave a lasting digital footprint for all to see.
Privacy should be an important concern to everyone online. Because it is so easy for information to get into the wrong hands, it is important to be careful what you put online. This can be hard for young people to understand or to remember. The sites they visit or the information they put online can leave a digital footprint that can last forever.
It is easy to lookup people online and to learn information about them. Having a digital footprint can make it easy for marketers, future employers, future schools, hackers and even sex offenders to target people.
Educating And Prevention
Teaching your children the proper precautions to take is an important step that all parents should take. Make them aware of the dangers online, especially when it comes to social media. Make sure to follow up with them and to keep an open conversation. Prevention and education is key to having a safe online experience.
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