Youths and Social Media – Part II
In part one of this discussion, I put emphasis on the peculiar characteristics and potentials of youths which is always yearning for expressions. They are what make them to do what they do per time. However, in a bid to demonstrate these inherent abilities, a lot of them fall into many traps and get involved in some social vices. Besides, because of the porous nature of our time a lot of youth have become vulnerable to various vices. This is what I refer to as the troubles of their time. There are peculiar characteristics of our time which has presented a perverted culture to the youth. First on the list is Mass Media especially Social Media.
Contemporary youth culture is media driven. Thousand of images of immorality that are being acted out in movies, videos, cables have brought our young ones under some negative influences and have seared their consciences. Worst of all is the perverted use of the internet facilities where they get incessantly exposed to all kind of evils. What they get from all these means are sordid reflections that run contrary to Christian values. The truth is, once they graft this filth into their hearts they eventually become monster to contend with. The challenge on our hands now, is how to help the youth to exercise discernment on how to recognize the enormous benefits embedded in these technological tools as well as the inherent dangers especially in the social media networks.
IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS ON YOUTH
Online social media have gained astounding worldwide growth and popularity which has led to attracting attention from variety of researchers globally. Although with time all generations have come to embrace the changes social network has brought about, teenagers and young adults are the most fanatic users of these sites. According to various research studies in the field of online social networks, it has been revealed that these sites are impacting the lives of the youth greatly. When using these sites such as Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, there are both positive and negative effects on the youths.
It is inevitable to ignore the fact that nowadays social network plays an essential role in the life of the young ones. Most youths are spending at least an hour in these popular social media sites. Generally, 1 out of 7 minutes which are spent online by most of those who can access internet is spent on Facebook according to Shea Bennett. One may ask how spending all that time on the social media sites may have a positive impact on them. The following are several impact Social Media Networks have made on young people.
- Impact on Socialization
Social Networks put the users on global scene. It is a good platform to leverage on other people around the world. It makes global connectivity possible and easy. Today, you can make connections with anybody all over the world at the click of the mouse, as long as that person is also on social media platform. With this, it helps young people to stay abreast of the latest global and local developments. In other words, it helps the youth and any other user updated with what is happening around the world, help the youths stay connected and interact with one another even if they are many miles apart. This strengthens their relationship even if they finished school and moved to different locations they stay connected and update one another.
Through these platforms, you can connect with old friends, college mate, former school teachers or even international friends without leaving your locality. Every day, new social platforms are popping up regularly that are dedicated to allowing people to connect and interact via the internet. Through such sites, it now becomes easier to make new friends or business connections or extend and interact with friends of friends globally.
Apart from this, young people can promote and expand their career globally through social media platforms. A lot of these sites make it possible to advertise your goods and services to the outside world. This alone has impacted the face of business in the 21st century. In many ways, social communities are the virtual equivalent of meeting at the general store or at business meeting to exchange news and get updated on friends and families.
- Global Community of Common Interest Group
Social Media Network has given people to make global contribution to issues that of paramount interest without necessarily being physically present. When you opt to participate in a social network community, you can pick and choose those individuals whose likes and dislikes are similar to yours and build your network around those commonalities. For instance, I am a book lover and I like to share ideas I gather from my reading with others on my social media platforms. With that, I have been able to build a network of people with similar interest whereby we are now sharing ideas together on various subjects and issues form our reading.
There is no doubt, social media sites have provided a platform whereby the youth can create groups and pages based on their common discipline and end up building connections and opportunities for their respective careers by updating various topics to discuss. Many youths have come to the conclusion that social media has become their lifestyle and it makes their lives easier and efficient. There is a tremendous benefit from this kind of connection. Because you are connecting digitally instead of having to physically attend meetings with the group members, you have luxury of joining many more groups and communities. You can meet with your friends anytime around the globe anytime you have internet connection and whenever you find them online.
- Impact on Information Sharing
Many social networking sites incorporate an instant messaging features, which means you can exchange information in real-time via a chart in a twinkling of an eye. This is a great feature for teachers to use to facilitate classroom discussions. In addition, the internet is the ultimate online text book. Students no longer need to check out multiple books out of the library at a time. Much of what they need to know is available online. This opportunity is not only limited to school environment alone, social media network can also provide a tool for young professionals. Sites like Linkedln are being used to enhance career development and business prospect. All these opportunities have impacted on young people to showcase their ingenuity and giftedness.
- Impact on Business and Economy
Social Medial Networks provide opportunity for business owner to make their presence felt on the net with minimal cost. A lot of companies are using social media to advertise their product, build customer loyalty and many other functions. Interactions and feedback from customers help businesses to understand the market, fine-tune their products and strategies. Many firms organize contests and give away prizes to enthuse consumers to visit their social website page more often. Compared to television advertisements and other expensive forms of marketing, social media presence is a cheap and effective means to enhance brand image and popularity. It is this singular factor that has made a lot of young people to become business owner without necessarily own a building structure. This in a way has affected the rate of unemployment.
- Impact on Politics
Social media is playing a significant role in politics around the globe. Young people are now much more interested in politics because they can easily connect online with what is going on. Because, every politician worth his salt now engage social media platforms to solicit for support, this has given rooms for young people to also have a say on who governs them.