You might think it’s completely harmless for an innocent teenager to log on to Facebook, check out their news feed, goes through a few friends’ profiles, mabe send a chat message to one or two people on their “Online” list. We all know the teenagers themselves think it’s harmless.
But is Facebook actually affecting these teenagers in a negative way? Countless studies on the subject show some pretty shocking results.
With such easy access to everything happening in all of their friends’ worlds, it’s easy for teenagers to lose themselves in the world of Facebook and other social media platforms.
And while it can be a good tool to help the teens meet new people their age and work on some social skills without the pressure of being face-to-face with someone new, this captivity in the online world can lead to some real symptoms of addiction.
Studies have shown that a large portion of teens check their Facebook accounts more than 10 times per day. Their “world” begins to exist within Facebook and they easily lose interest in the “outside” world.
In some cases, it’s also easy for teenagers to become obsessed with their Facebook “image,” both literally and figuratively. A teenage girl will log on to post pictures of herself all over her wall just to get the attention of her Facebook friends. When she gets the response she’s looking for (which inevitably happens), she continues the trend, becoming more and more involved in her looks.
While it doesn’t happen to everyone, children and teenagers with pre-existing symptoms of narcissism do tend to show those symptoms even more strongly after having been involved in social media circles.
Perhaps the most blatant negative impact that Facebook can have on a teenager is a drop in grades in school from spending so much time on the site. Teenagers have access to Facebook 24/7 if they have a smart phone or a laptop, and, depending on school rules, many teenagers get to bring those devices to school with them.
In addition, a teen will likely do their homework around their computer, where Facebook is constantly up. All it takes is for one person to instant message them and they lose focus and don’t finish their homework successfully.
When a teenager sees someone “checks in” somewhere cool or is wearing cooler clothes in their profile pic than the other, the teen browsing often becomes jealous. And that jealous reflects in other aspects of their lives, as well.
They often feel that they should live the lives of the “cool” Facebook kids, and will do everything in their power to try to emulate those lives outside of the Internet.
This can be detrimental to the kind of person the teenager grows up to be in terms of living a well-balanced life and being a good person in general. And feelings of jealousy are often taken out in acts of anger, which is dangerous not only to the teen, but to their friends and family members, as well.
Risk of Predators
The same issues were true when the technology of instant messaging and “chat rooms” came out about 10 years ago – you never really know who is lurking behind the profile you think you’re looking at or the person you think you’re talking to.
The scary fact is that predators are using Facebook and other social media platforms on a daily basis to find unsuspecting, innocent teenagers to harass or take advantage of. It’s a dangerous place for teenagers to be, no matter how harmless they think Facebook may be.
Megan Willis is a freelance writer who loves technology and social media. She just read an article to learn more about NQ Mobile on MarketWatch to help inform the teenagers in her life how to keep their social media “lives” safe, too.