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Has social media hurt or improved the lives of teenagers? Social media has taken the world by storm in the past decade or so. Around 75% of teenagers have a cell phone in the United States, and almost 85% of teenagers have a social media account. While most of the teens in America are connected to social media in some way, how is it affecting their everyday lives?

Social media has become notorious for taking over most teens lives, causing them to suffer from anxiety and depression. The amount of sleep teens are losing due to social media is concerning. Many studies have shown that teens need around 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Although most teens are only getting around six to seven hours of sleep per night due to being on social media making sure they aren’t missing any status updates from their friends. Lack of sleep can cause a teen to be more irritable, make them unable to concentrate, and can even cause depression in some extreme cases. Almost all teens suffer from “fomo”, also known as “the fear of missing out”. Teenagers are becoming obsessed with seeing every status update, message, and funny video shared by their friends. This social media craze has become so bad that it is affecting them negatively in their real lives. Teenagers are more concerned with social media that their grades in school are dropping by a considerable amount. They are also becoming more distant from their parents. Parents can’t keep up with social media trends and private conversations a teen may be having, making it harder for a parent to be involved in their child’s life. Most people have felt the pain of not being invited to something in their lives. Seeing your friends hanging out without you on social media can affect a teen in many ways. It could cause a teen to be angry or sad as they weren’t invited to a friends house while everyone else was. Not being invited to a party or just to a hangout can be very devastating for some people, especially a teenager. A teen being continually left out could cause depression and anxiety within them, this depression and anxiety will only worsen over time as it would cause a teen to be even more distant from their friends and family. It is hard to talk to your children as a parent about issues they may be experiencing online. This is because the parents have no idea that something is negatively impacting their child’s life and is unable to comfort their teen in times of need.

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Cyberbullying is becoming much more common nowadays with almost every teenager having a cell phone and a social media account. Cyberbullying is the act of saying harsh and hurtful things to an individual online. You will typically see cyber bullying take place on facebook or twitter. According to “dosomething.org” 43 percent of teenagers have been bullied online, and only one in ten cyberbullying victims will tell an adult. Cyberbullying is a very real problem teens are facing in today’s society due to the growing popularity of social media. “Bullyingstatistics.org” say teens who are being bullied are two to nine times more likely to consider suicide. This is a scary statistic considering how often cyberbullying happens on social media. Cyberbullying is not the only social media phenomenon that is growing at a rapid pace. Sexting has become very popular among teenagers in today’s society. Teenagers will often send nude pictures to someone over social media or text, resulting in that picture being shared with people who were not supposed to see it. According to “dosomething.org” when sending a nude picture 55% of people will share the received picture with more than one person. A teenager being blackmailed with a nude picture they sent online is not uncommon. They may be pressured into sending more pictures or doing other demeaning acts to prevent the nude picture they sent from being shared online with others. When a teenagers nude picture is shared with many people they will typically be bullied at school and online. Being bullied will often cause depression and anxiety. A teenager may feel scared to go to school or even leave the house because they are being bullied. Cyberbullying and sexting through social media is a big problem, unfortunately there are limited resources to prevent these acts from happening. Ultimately it falls on the teenagers to receive help by telling a trusted adult if they are being bullied or being threatened with a picture they sent on social media.

While social media is definitely negatively impacting teenagers lives, it still does have some benefits to it. Teenagers are able to use social media to express themselves, whether it be on facebook or instagram expressing one’s feelings is important. Teens will often be more willing to voice their opinions or share how they are feeling online. Social media has also help teenagers make new friends faster than ever. Social media allows teens to be in contact with their friends at any time, this strengthens friendships and also helps form new ones. Always being in contact with friends and family can be very comforting for teenagers who may feel alone and isolated. Friends can chat over facetime, texting, facebook, or even instagram. Finding people with common interest has become much easier with the growing popularity of social media. Everything you need to know about someone can be found on their profile page, allowing you to find common interest to bond over. While sexting is a huge problem in today’s society, sharing appropriate picture with friends is a great way to communicate with people over social media. Sharing photos online is a cool way to see what your friends are up to, although this can be dangerous. As stated before seeing friends hang out without you can be devastating to a teenager and can seriously affect them in many ways. While social media may be harming today’s generation it still does have some good qualities that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Social media may allow teenagers to express themselves, but it may be doing more harm than good.Teens can express themselves in many ways, social media is not the only outlet. While social media does have some benefits the negative qualities can be far more impactful on a teens life in the long run. Its is not unheard of for teens to post inappropriate videos online for everyone to see. Posting a video of themselves drinking underage, doing drugs, and participating in other inappropriate acts may not seem to like a very big deal right now, but it may impact them negatively in the future. Often times when applying for a job employers will search the applicant’s facebook, twitter, instagram, and other social media platforms. That video a teen posted three years ago may be the reason that individual didn’t get the job. It is important to remember that once something is posted online it is online forever. This is something that very few teens seem to understand and respect in today’s society.

Social media can be a dangerous platform that almost every teen in America uses in today’s society. Social media has many more negative attribute than positive attributes when it comes to teenagers using the applications. While teenagers are not going to stop using social media on a daily basis, parents do need to explain the dangers of social media and the effect it can have on teens today and in the future.

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