By Reina Manabe
Phones are now an essential tool of teen’s life. Research has shown that 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone and 45 percent say they are online “almost constantly.” Moreover, being a highschooler, I see a lot of students being on their phones in classes so often. What makes teens addicted to their phones like that?
It seems that teens mostly access social media when they are on their phones. YouTube is the most popular social media platform with 85 percent of 13-to-17-year-olds using it; 72 percent use Instagram, 69 percent use Snapchat, 51 percent use Facebook, and it’s estimated that 69 percent of US teens are monthly TikTok users. Many studies have shown that it is more likely that being overly addicted to social media will affect teens negatively, however, only if they use it responsibly and appropriately, will they benefit from it.
Teens take advantage of social media for several reasons: developing friendships, figuring out their identities, and establishing social status by being “in the know.” Maintaining existing friendships is also one of the main reasons for using social media. As today’s teens grow up, they view social media as an online place to “hang out” and connect with friends around mutual interests. The Internet, including social media, provides some advantages to teens. For example, watching favorite shows, getting information about news and current events, interacting with friends, watching what favorite celebrities do, and so on. When teens need some information, they have access to a variety of sources on their phones, providing almost everything they need.
Despite those benefits, there are also risks. Frequent social media use among teens has been linked to poor academic performance and other potential negative consequences. For instance, teens can experience cyberbullying on social media, either as a victim or bystander, or if teens accidentally give their personal information they might get in financial trouble. It especially affects teens’ sleep, which is a vital part of their life. Using screens directly impacts people’s ability to get a good quality of sleep. The artificial light disrupts the production of melatonin in the brain to induce sleep. A study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence indicates that sleep deprivation is linked to increased anxiety, stress, depression, and also substance abuse.
One of the solutions that has been supported strongly is to first go exercise or do their homework or whatever activity that is healthy for them; then, they can open up social media. It will set limits on social media use and keep teens away from being excessively addicted to their phones. Keeping away from social media is more likely to prevent people from getting depression.
It seems that there are many teens who don’t try to improve the situation even though they admit that they are using social media too often. One of the opinions that teens claim mostly is that without social media, they would have not been able to have friendships and relationships that they have today. As I stated the advantages of social media above, this argument is actually true but teens should know that there are various dangerous effects if they use social media inappropriately. Therefore it is important for teens to think about what is a good way to cope with social media.
Teens can benefit from social media a lot while it has many potential risks and lead them to negative consequences. They should be more aware of the effects that social media has on them and think about ways to use it properly.