Youth are masters at keeping themselves occupied in the hours after school until way past bedtime. When they are not doing their assignments, they are online and on their phones texting and surfing their internet each time with things which are not beneficial in their lives. Media is controlling the minds of youths like a giant remote control. In fact, experts worry that social media and text messages have become so integral to youth life that they are now are promoting anxiety and lowering self-esteem. Many young people spend sleepless nights on social media and their parents are unaware. This disruption of sleep has had numerous effects on youths and teenagers. It causes insomnia, mood swings and increased obesity, among other serious health and medical conditions.
In as much as it can be a creative platform to promote learning, encourage peer-to peer growth and even explore opportunities for education and business, sadly media is not often used wisely by youth. Instead, increasing reports reflect that young people use these virtual spaces as platforms for cyber bullying, violence and intimidation. The impact of this resulting in depression and suicidal thoughts by victims of these malicious acts. In other cases, youth with low self-esteem and identity challenges, as an example, may be negatively influenced as they may feel pressurized to change their physical appearance by comparing themselves to the next person they see in the media and the cyber world.
Other dangers of social media is that of pornographic content. Many youth today are watching porn using social media, the internet and cable television. This has ushered in an age of unprecedented access to explicit images and videos. Research findings highlight the harmful influence of this to youth and people as a whole. At one time, people could only access pornographic material through someone’s discarded trash items or from a hidden stash of someone yet today, it is all just a click away. As a result of this, many youth are subsequently inundated and overwhelmed with sexual stimuli before they have developed the capacity to form a healthy self- identity let alone that of a morally sexual one.
These overwhelming circumstances then pave the way for further online violence, bullying and extreme negative behaviour. Let us be mindful of the use of social media. Its many uses vary. Some for bad and others for good. Let us purpose to use it for the right things. To be used for the good and positive influence for our young people while not forgetting our values and principles.
Source: Linda Adzeoda YMCA Change Agent