With the countless apps, sites and other platforms for people to communicate through media that are all over the Web these days, this is genuinely the age of social networks. Teenagers like myself are amongst the leading users of the majority of social media platforms on the Internet. Whether it’s updating a Facebook condition, fitting a joke into 140 characters or uploading an image of our lunch to Instagram, we are on the Web a lot. Social media is a huge part of our culture.
Recently, I’ve seen a rise in the number of people on my Facebook feed writing or posting long articles about why social media is destructive to teenagers. Many people seem to have a negative outlook on social networks and its influence on today’s youth. Do not get me wrong, there are a lot of negative aspects of kids having so much freedom on the Internet in this day and age. Advertisers have limitless chances to manipulate and influence us. Privacy is not actually an option for most social media users. Plus, the Internet is now an environment that allows people to easily and anonymously harmed others. Cyber bullying has become a big problem in the last few years. These are all negative elements of being a part of online neighborhoods. That being said, I don’t think social media is totally bad. I actually think being part of the social media world is beneficial to teenagers. It provides a space for youth to share opinions, stories and thoughts. It enables us to connect with people all over the world. It can be used for bad things, but it can likewise be used for good.
On the Internet and off, bullying has actually constantly been a big issue amongst youth, and most likely will be for a long time to come. I’m not trying to justify bullying in any way, but I am simply stating that taking the Internet away would not solve the bullying problem. There are other ways to make a difference.
The people who are versus social media appear to focus a lot on the fact that this environment offers users a simple way to spread out hate, and less on that it also provides users an easy way to spread out love. At any time, you can compose a message on a forum like Facebook or Twitter and send it out for anyone in the world to see. Sure, many people on the Internet abuse this opportunity, but what if we encouraged them to use it for good instead?
The other day, in the midst of this huge “makeup-free selfie” trend, I used my Facebook as a platform to let my good friends know my viewpoint of all of it. I made a status update about how I believe we should be focusing on peoples’ inner-beauty instead of the way they look with or without makeup. That condition update got a lot of response, and it felt good to be able to reach out to people and share something important to me, in a few clicks of a button.
The thing is, the Internet gives youth so much freedom. We now have a relevant voice because of social media. Granted, there are a great deal of youth who do not really understand the best ways to make use of that voice for the ideal factors yet. In fact, I’m still figuring it out myself. Instead of discouraging youth in our use of the Internet, I feel that people should start encouraging us to use it for the right factors instead of the incorrect ones.
The youth of today have a voice like we never have previously. Social media can be a remarkable environment to encourage each other, interact with people and share our stories. Social media offers us a chance to reconnect and keep up with old good friends and friends that live far away. It gives us the opportunity to share our stories and get our opinions out there. Having the freedom to say what we want on the Internet makes us feel heard. That can be such a powerful feeling, and I think it’s a really important one for teenagers to have.
Recently, a few tweets of mine have been gaining popularity, and some have even gotten attention from famous people on Twitter. Social media platforms like Twitter have given me therefore lots of other teenagers a lot of power. So now, with all of these ways to have our voices heard, I think that teenagers should be empowered to use that freedom for good. People need to start listening to exactly what the youth has to state and understand that so much good can come from this chance if we are encouraged and accepted online and offline