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Introduction

Social media is a term used to enable the interaction between
individuals who create, share, and participate on social networking sites. The
impact of social media on young people is important. It is the 21st century and
children have been growing up surrounded by mobile devices and interactive social
networking sites which includes Facebook, Myspace and Twitter; gaming and
virtual sites such as the Sims and Farmville; and video sites such as YouTube
and blogs, which has made social media a fundamental part of their lives.  During the past few years, the amount of youth
using social media has increased significantly. According to a recent study
from Research Centre Pew, 92% of teens state that they go online daily as well
as the 24% who say they go
online almost frequently. With this in mind, this report will be
exploring the global and national perspectives of negative impacts of social
media on the youth, drawing on perspectives from my home countries the United
Kingdom and India, comparing the
differences between each country.

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Issues

There are many negative impacts of social media on the youth
but I am going to focus on how social media causes cyberbullying, sexual abuse,
lowering of self-esteem and how its effects privacy, as, after research I feel
is more consequential.

Cyberbullying

The first issue is cyberbullying. It is the most occurred online
threat to most teens and its essential cause is the secrecy on the Internet. 32
percent of teens online admit to have experienced a series of online bullying
higher from others. While direct hostile emails or messages are the most
up-front form of cyberbullying, they are probably the slightest minority in
that only 13 percent of surveyed adolescents declared to have received
threatening or violent messages. Even sending private messages to other people
without the sender’s permission, is recognized as cyberbullying. Pew research
found that 15 percent of teens were uneasy and unpleasant about having had
their personal message put up in a public content. Pew also established that
approximately 39 percent of teens on social media have been cyberbullied in
some way, set against 22 percent of teens online who do not use social media.
It can cause depression, anxiety, severe isolation, and even suicide. It also
causes many youngsters to get involved with alcohol and drugs, skip school,
experience physical bullying, receive poor grades, have lower self-confidence,
and have more health problems.

Living in both United Kingdom and India, the amount of people
being cyberbullied in each of the countries are completely different due to the
developments in each country. UK being in the top ten countries penetrated by social media, has
had many reports of cyberbullying. According to research conducted by Steven
Walker in 2011, 7 out of 10 young people reported being bullied online; 37% of
these experienced online bullying frequently. 
Cyberbullying statistics from the 2014 annual bullying report of the UK
charity Ditch the Label also estimated that 5.43 million UK children and teens
have had experienced cyberbullying. Cyberbullying death reports include
teenagers such as Izzy Dix, Hannah Smith and Daniel Perry who hung themselves due
severe cyberbullying. As India being a developing country its use of social media
is not as high as the UK.  In India 32
percent of parents said their child had experienced cyberbullying. As stated in
endcyberbullying.org, 22% of children experiencing unfriendly treatment. In
2013, BBC shared an article on women in India being attacked on social media.
Few women such as Kavita Krishnan and Writer-activist Meena Kandasamy were
abused online, but none of these attacks have led to death.

My school in India does not allow access to social media
which decreases the amount of cyber-attacks to the students of my school. Due
to the lack of internet access, students in school are more people-friendly and
socializing.

Sexual Abuse

According to the source, The Impact of Social Media
on Children, Adolescents, and Families, a clinical report, sexting is defined
as sending, receiving or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs or
images via cell phone, computer or other digital devices. A national survey by
the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com
found a surprising 20 percent of teens from ages 14-18 have participated in
sexting. Though both genders seem to be sending sexually explicit
or vulgar messages, 71% of teenage girls are more probable to send
inappropriate photos of themselves, particularly to their boyfriends compared
to teenage boys who only do it 67% of the time. However, this is not the worst
part. 36% of teenage girls and 39% of teenage boys say it is common for
inappropriate photos to get shared with people without the permission of the
sender and 44% of both teens, both genders say it is common for sexually
explicit text messages to get shared again without the permission of the sender.

Only a few people out of the
total population in India have experienced sexual abuse compared to the United
Kingdom where it can be very brutal.

From  these statistics, we can see  that social media does bring negative  impacts 
to  youth  because 
social  media  can 
become  a  medium 
to publish  inappropriate pictures
thus bring bad influences and destroy the youth’s mind and can cause bad
consequences. The consequences fall on the victim themselves. The victim can go
into depression, they self-esteem can be dropped, they can isolate themselves and
even worse commit suicide. This creates a tough world for teenagers to live in.
Teenagers do not reach out for help because of humiliation and disappointment,
or frightened of getting into trouble. Also, sexting can put their reputations
in jeopardy. Once the picture is out, there is no way of recognizing how many
people have saved it, tagged it, and shared it, etcetera. Many college
representatives and forthcoming employers are in search of information about
applicants and they are doing this online. What they find online could
influence their choice about whether or not the person gets put down a job or
gets accepted into his or her dream school.

Self Esteem

Social media has become a
debatable topic amongst many psychologists. They all have the same question:
Can social media affect one’s self-esteem?

The University of Salford in the UK conducted a survey with
298 participants and discovered that about half their participants feel that
social media makes their life worse, mainly worsening their self-esteem.

It might seem teenagers cannot
go a short peak of time without holding their latest tweets or the number of
likes and comments they have received for a recent picture or message they
conveyed. In summation, many teens assess the type of responses they receive
from their posts as how popular they are online. Despite the fact that most
parents and adults would agree, having the most likes, shares, comments, or
tweets is not important, but for teens it seems like this is their whole life.

As a result of this
self-assurance upon social media, teens tend to change who they should be
because of it. If teens feel they are coming up short in the social media
world, it can stimulate a negative impact on their self-esteem and self-image,
and can lead to anxiety and economic crisis.

But there is a much complex
issue in with what teens worry about today. Not only do they judge the type of
feedback they receive through social media, they also rely upon it to make
choices about what music they should listen to or what types of clothes they
should wear, and more. Further, when teens receive destructive feedback or
sarcastic comments, and such, it can have a bad effect on their self-image.

Privacy

Social media does not have enough security and privacy and
because of this youth can be exposed to cybercrimes. Nowadays, teenagers love
to post about their everyday life and personal information on social media
sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It has become a common trend for
teenagers to showcase people everything they have done. According to a survey
conducted by with 802 teens, ever since the rise of social media, youth tend to
share more personal information and their daily activities more than the time
before social media even existed. Pew research also discovered that from 2006
to 2012, the number of teens that have posted their pictures on social media
has grown from 79% to 91%. Nevertheless, due to low security of social media,
any unknown person can obtain illegal access to youth’s personal information.
Thus, it may lead youth to various serious spots such as kidnapping, killing
and robbery. All these cases or situations can pass off to the youth due to the
sharing details on the social media. Youth’s photos, videos and statuses can be
downloaded within a few clicks. Therefore, kidnappers, murders and robbers can
easily search their targets online. This proves that social media can be one of
the mediums that can reveals youth in danger. Furthermore, the statuses, photos
and videos of the users in social media remain available for an indefinite
period of time. Youth that utilizes social media regularly have a high
probability of being let out to cyberbullying and dangerous situations such as
kidnappings, murdering and robbery. This is liable to the explanation that
everyday users of social media tend to send a lot of their personal information
onto social media and the fact that it has little security systems makes their
personal information unproblematic to access.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear that social media has brought a
great amount of negative effect to the youth. Social media allows unnecessary
risks in Self-image, privacy and more. The 
chances  of  youth 
being  exposed  to 
danger  such  as 
cybercrime,  kidnapping, murdering
and many others are too high because of the refinement of social media where
the users tend to put up a batch of their personal data online. Some other
negative impact of social media is that 
youth  are  also 
let out  to  sexting 
through  messaging  and 
photos.  The act of sexting brings
negative impacts to the victim itself, especially to their mind. Messages and
images from sexting might leak and this can cause embarrassment to the victims
thus affecting themselves. Social media is altering the behavior in which young
people interact with their parents, friends, over and above how they manage the
use of technology.

Preventions and solutions

It is important that parents become familiar with the nature
of social media sites, given that not all of them are of healthy environments
for children and young adults. When it comes to taking precautions about this
issue, it always starts with the parent or the guardians. These are a few steps
parents can take to keep their children safe from social media:

1.     
Educate
yourself about social media

2.     
Establish
an age limit on social media applications

3.     
Teach
children about the dangers and consequences of social media.

4.     
Keep
the computers or laptops in a common area in your home.

5.     
Set
guidelines for your child

6.     
Regularly
check your child’s privacy settings

If a child does not feel comfortable talking to their
parents, they can always talk to counselors or teachers from school. They
should also let their students know that any intimidation, harassment, or
threatening behavior will be dealt with serious consequences.

For children who have phones, parents can monitor your
child’s social media behavior is to install apps into their phone such as
WebWatcher or NetNanny.

According to the NSPCC, there are a few laws the government
can implement, mainly in the UK, to protect children from social media. The
first law being to “provide safe accounts for children under-18 with extra
protection built in” will protect the children by having a high privacy setting
as default, approving the user the child follows and making a child-friendly
rules. The law “creating grooming and bullying alerts to flag up ominous behaviour”
will automatically identify dangerous behavior and notify the child when he or
she is sent an abusive message. “Each social media site hiring experts to
detect violent or adult contents” will help the child as these experts will be
blocking these websites or warning the child.

As an individual, children can prevent these negatives by
protecting their privacy. This includes not sharing personal information such
as phone number, keeping passwords and log-ins private and logging out of a
social media account on public computers. While using a social media website, I
realized that there were people I didn’t know were following me and to prevent
this from happening again I set my account to private. This helped me from
letting outsiders looking into my account. Users can also install a reliable privacy
scanner in which it will scan through social media accounts to detect any weak
privacy settings.

Few solutions to these negative impacts are to use application
on smartphones such as “STOPit” on which pupils can anonymously end screenshots
of unsafe comments or threats to specialized and trusted adults. Child helpline
foundations are available for 24 hours 7 days a week in each and country and
allows children under a certain age with any issue. If any adolescent is facing
any severe abuse, they can also speak to the authorities and end the problem as
soon as possible.

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