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Positive effects and negative effects of social media

Positive effects and negative effects of social media: Recently, Instagram and its parent company Facebook faced a public outcry after some reports suggested that their use has a negative impact on youth. Facebook’s ‘whistle blower’ Frances Haugen also revealed that big social media companies give higher priority to profit than the mental health of youth. It has exposed the impact of such social media apps and websites on the youth.

Positive effects and negative effects of social media

positive effects of social media

Contact and Relationships: Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide teens and young adults with a sense of belonging and acceptance. This is especially true for groups such as LGBTQ, who are isolated or marginalized.

Its all-around impact was clearly visible during the Corona pandemic when it connected people and loved ones living in ‘isolation’.

Positive Motivation: Social networks can create ‘peer motivation’ and motivate youth to develop new and healthy habits. Teenagers can also find positive role models for themselves through online mediums.

Formation of Identity: Adolescence is a time when young people are trying to assert their identity and find their place in society. Social media provides a platform for adolescents to develop their unique identities.

A study has shown that youth who express their opinions on social media experience ‘better progress’.

Research: Mental health experts and researchers use social media often to collect data that contribute to their research. In addition, therapists and other professionals can network within online communities, expanding their knowledge and reach.

Providing Expression: Social media has given teens an opportunity to express their feelings in favor of each other. The expression and use of strong emotions, thoughts or energy, can produce extremely positive effects.

Gateway to Talent: Social media outlets provide a platform for students to share their creativity and ideas with a neutral audience and get honest feedback. The feedback received can be a guide for them to shape their skills better if they want to pursue that skill professionally.

For example, a photographer or videographer starts by posting their shots on Instagram. Many youths are already making their career in this.

Promote Creativity: Social media can help youth to increase their confidence and creativity. It connects the youth to the world of ideas and possibilities. These platforms encourage students to use their creative skills in terms of connecting with their friends and their general audience.

Digital activism and social change: Social media can become a medium to create impact within the community. It exposes them to important topics not only within their own community but all over the world. Greta Thunberg is one such example of youth activism.

negative effects of social media

Mental health problems: Several studies have found a close association between social media use and depression. According to one study, youth with moderate to severe depression symptoms were almost twice as likely to use social media. Teenagers spend most of their time on social media looking at the lives and pictures of their peers. This leads to constant comparability, which can damage self-esteem and ‘body image’ and increase depression and anxiety in adolescents.

Physical health problems: Excessive use of social media results in less time spent on healthful, real-world activities. Sleep deprivation is caused by the habit of scrolling through social media feeds—known as ‘vamping’.

Social Relations: Adolescence is an important time to develop social skills. However, because teens spend less time face-to-face with their friends, they have fewer opportunities to practice this skill.

‘Tech addiction’: Scientists have found that overuse of social media by adolescents creates arousal patterns similar to those produced by other addictive behaviors.

Reaffirmation of Prejudices: Social media provides an opportunity to reaffirm their prejudices and stereotypes about others. Meeting like-minded people online fuels these trends as they develop a sense of community. Example: Flat Earth Society.

Cyberbullying or trolling: This has created serious problems and has even led to cases of suicide among teenagers. In addition, teens who engage in acts such as cyberbullying are also vulnerable to drug abuse, aggression, and engaging in criminal acts.

Online Child Sexual Harassment and Exploitation: A study conducted in the United States found that nearly half of all US children surveyed indicated that they were made to feel uncomfortable, bullied, or sexually assaulted while online. communicated. In another study, it was found that more than 50 percent of the victims of online sexual abuse were between the ages of 12 and 15.

way ahead

A dedicated social media policy: A holistic policy should be adopted to regulate social media by creating accountability to not target the youth as consumers or future consumers. This would make the algorithm more geared towards adults rather than youth.

Security measures for inappropriate content: Social media platforms should be prohibited from recommending or disseminating certain material that contains sexual, violent, or other adult content (gambling or other dangerous, abusive, exploitative, or outright commercial content) including).

Ethical Framework Standards: These standards will set principles for technology companies to prevent, avoid and discourage digital distraction and to prioritize ethical human learning.

Digital Literacy: It is important not to ignore the “digital divide” that exists in India, especially in the field of education. Policy decisions in the name of protecting youth should not result in the loss of future opportunities for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Governance and regulation: Government regulation is also necessary for greater accountability of these forums for content, data localization, third-party digital audits, strong data protection laws, etc.

Role of social media platforms: Banning certain features like ‘auto-play sessions, push alerts, and more importantly creating products that do not target youth.

Role of Social Agencies: Parents, educational institutions, and society as a whole have to play an important role to control, making use of, and limiting social media use. This goal can be accomplished by using parental control features, limiting screen time, frequent communication with children, and promoting outdoor activities.


Evaluating the impact of digital technology on youth is important, as these effects will shape their adult behavior and the behavior of future societies. It would be interesting to know that tech giants like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs seriously controlled their children’s access to technology.

All technologies have clear benefits and potentially harmful effects. As with most issues in life, the solution to the problem may lie in avoiding excessive use of social media and making balanced use of it.

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