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Social Media Affecting Adolescents

In the world, and specifically the United States, many adolescents and adults are struggling to communicate efficiently with the world through social media, and many more are feeling anxious because of what is seen on social media. These problems are affecting each individual whether they are choosing to be involved in social media or not because of the indirect effects it can have on: relationships, co-workers, and the everyday acquaintances. It is crucial to find a solution to this problem that social media is creating of: Causing adolescents to struggle communicating, and causing anxiety in teens because of body image pressures.

In order to solve the problem, there are three verified solutions: Have parents be more attentive to children when younger to, set good example and so they feel valued, accept the changes social media has brought and try to skew it to become more positive, or stop using all social media in general and don’t use any of these platforms. Social media and its problems are impacting everybody’s daily life. Whether an individual chooses to participate directly in social media or not, there are many non-direct ways it affects everyday life.

These problems can affect simple workplace interactions, and the way adolescents view their own body and their confidence level. Social media is such an important aspect in many adolescents lives because it is capable of filling the void of attention they have. One researcher is finding direct correlations to social media and the lack of attention adolescents receive, “[S]ocial media is filling [the need for attention] because adolescence can process and share such large amounts of data in a small amount of time” (Segarrd 77).

As a result of spending so much time on social media many females and some males are experiencing body image pressures and in turn are becoming dissatisfied with their own body. “Adolescent females are more frequently on social network sites, causing them to be dissatisfied with their bodies or seeking, thinspiration, encouragement regarding weight loss” (Andsager 412). A society must seek to raise strong leaders and confident citizens; however, social media is preventing this.

It makes individuals self absorbed or self conscious about their bodies and how they are portrayed. If allowed society will be controlled by a select few and confident leaders may struggle to emerge and if they do, they will struggle to communicate their ideas effectively in an efficient matter. A solution must be found in order to keep society advancing. I. Background The first major social media site, Myspace launched August 1, of 2003. Following was Facebook, initially just for college students in 2004, but then allowed everyone to join in 2006.

Following was a rush of social media Snapchat in 2011, Instagram in 2010, Twitter in 2006 and many more. Suddenly the population found itself submerged in a digital era. And quickly after that adolescents seemed to solely communicate through any and all of social media’s numerous platforms. As social media began taking over more everyday communication problems started to appear, specifically adolescents struggling to communicate efficiently in person, and anxiety began to arise based off unrealistic images.

There are multiple solutions to the problems social media is causing throughout the world. One possible solution is to, have parents be more attentive to children when younger so they feel valued, and to set a good, personal example, with social media. Many researchers can agree that a lot of the reason adolescents are drawn into social media is so they can share their thoughts, ideas, and feel valued by getting a response and reaction. So the root of this solution is for adolescents to get this same feeling at home and to start from a very young age. add quote about how children need attention or about what they do on social media)

If parents are able to create an environment where children are able to grow up being listened to and feeling secure to talk about their ideas because they were engage with then they will be getting attention at home and not need social media as much to fill this attention void. The second part of the solution is that of parents setting a good example. Growing up in the 21st century, many children are ignored.

Whether is be at the kitchen table, at a restaurant, in the car ,or with friends. Kids often get put to the side. And very often they are in second place to there parents phone. Quote about kids getting pushed to wayside. At dinner, it is common to see both parents on their phone while they play, and very often they are just on social media or conversing with others by texting. These children are being shown that it is okay to value others on a phone more then the people sitting at the table with them.

This solution is very plausible because it is focusing on the root of the problem which is lack of attention. Another solution is to accept the changes social media has brought and try to skew it to become more positive. In this solution the goal would be to make social media more positive and accepting. Additionally a limit would placed on the amount of time one could spend on a given site. It would also require more settings on accounts about bullying specifically relating to appearance. Overall campaigns would be held to create a loving and accepting environment.

This solution can hold ground when two main aspects are brought forward: first, limiting time spent on social media, and secondly taking the time spent and putting it towards positive uplifting messages. If this positive message is pushed then one can live the best of social media and life. The last potential solution is one of the most simple, but possibly the hardest. If one gives up all social media then young girls who are not on social media can not have body image pressure from social media.

Also these indivials would be forced to share there thoughts with each other in a more personal way than just sharing a genertic photo, idea, or feeling. These people would be finding something more wholesome to obtain attention rather than spending countless hours online reacting to each other, and having horrible side effects too. They would be avoiding the side effects of changing the confidence in your own body and not being comfortable in oneself’s skin. I. Recommended Solution/Plan of Action

The most realistic and probable solution is to create an environment at home where parents are more children when younger so they feel valued, and for parents to set a good, personal example, with social media usage. If parents create an affluent area for children to thrive and grow and feel heard then they will never need to go beyond their own home. As Hubner points out, “Adolescents are longing for attention that prior generations received through school friendships and family” (288). Our current generation is receiving this attention now through social media.

There are however, some side effects (if you will) of using social media as a replacement for this attention. Researchers, Julie Andsager, the author of, “Research Directions in Social Media and Body Image” and Dian A Vries, Jochen Peter, Hanneke Graaf, Peter Nikken, the authors’ of, “Adolescents’ Social Network Site Use, Peer Appearance-Related Feedback, and Body Dissatisfaction: Testing a Mediation Model” agree that images found on social media of thin women cause young adolescents to strive to be thin and make them have negative thoughts towards their own bodies.

Trends are being found in the age bracket of 13-17 of desirable bodies found on social media and girls self esteem” (Andsager 411). These problems of body image and attention neediness can all be solved by giving kids attention at home. Although some parents may argue that this is harder said than done it is worth the effort to create confident children that can add to society.

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