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Social Media and its effects on children

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By: Muhammad Johaan

Social media is quickly evolving and it is almost impossible to reject or hide from this new form of media. Not only is it an important part of socialization within peer groups but it is also used as a marketing tool given its reach in the larger community. Social media sites offer its users new ways of access to infotainment while the long-term effects of it are still unknown. Sadly, our teenagers have taken on the use of social media to the extents that if not monitored or restricted, it can have some very severe effects on their overall well-being. It is imperative for parents to be more aware of this new media.

Among its positive uses, Social media providing an alternative way for young students to discuss, debate and also upload valuable information for easy consumption. It has made access to various important books and literature quite easy and students also sometimes, share lectures, lessons and important facts in order to stay updated.

It is through social media that users share their interests without hesitation and connect with a wide range of people whose works or any other proximity brings them together on one platform. They share, discuss, comment and engage in debates over posts by friends etc.

Teenagers usually get to know various viewpoints and become accustomed with people’s ideas about various issues and subsequently develop tendencies not only to respect others viewpoints but also become better human beings. Social networks can be places for teens to turn for supporting and advice when going through challenging experiences. It can be a positive and somewhat easier way for adolescents to get to know and become accepting of others from diverse backgrounds. Children and adolescents are capable of impacting their communities and even the world in amazing ways and such platforms provide them a variety of Ways to go about making positive change.

Although there are many positive aspects of social media, the negative effects on children and adolescents are also numerous. Social media can affect the mental health of teens and, according to some researches, the excessive use of such mediums can be detrimental for not just the physical wellbeing of a person but also psychological health. Their level of contentment can decrease, and their likelihood of getting into trouble or being depressed can increase.

It can sometimes get very dangerous when things like hate campaigns etc are triggered against each other and young minds cannot grasp such things and tend to take serious steps detrimental for their own wellbeing as well as that of others. Many adolescents are influenced by the powerful advertising they see on social media sites, and it strongly influences their buying habits. Many of them are not aware that they are individually targeted because the sites keep track of their habits and demographics. As with just about everything, social media should be used in moderation. Studies have shown that adolescents and even college students who are on Facebook too much have lower grades in their respective subjects.

Parents play a critical role in helping teens process and cope with what they are seeing online. Parents can help teens broaden their social media experiences by talking about interesting facebook accounts, Twitter, or Instagram pages that share information about various topics. It's too easy for teens to get stuck when engaged with social media guiding them towards their areas of interest using social media helps them expand their experience and learn new things.

The writer is a photographer and a student of Degree college Ganderbal. johaan444@gmail.com

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